Seven Investigated in Spanish Football Scandal

Written by Michael F. on 2009-12-03 at 14:36
Internet betting - GamingZion
In a new chapter of what seems to be a global epidemic of football match setting scandals, two clubs and seven players have been targeted by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) in an investigation exploring possible match-rigging in Spain. The inquiry began after the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) alerted RFEF that certain players were betting on games that they played in. While it is legal to bet on sports in Spain, these bets were flagged as “unusual” by the UEFA’s Early Warning System which automatically monitors betting patterns across Europe.

Most of the players targeted are from second division teams, including Francisco Suarez (Gramenet), Mario Gomez (Alcorcon), Juan Carlos Ceballos (Cordoba), Raul Lucha Hurtado (Amposta), Francisco Medina Luna (Rayo) and Javier Monteys (Gramenet). Only one player comes from Spain’s first division: Javier Lopez Vallejo, who is the goalkeeper for Real Zaragoza. Lopez Vallejo, 34, has insisted that he had “absolutely nothing to do with the matter.”

One of the games suspected of being fixed is a goalless draw from the end of last season between Las Palmas and Rayo Vallecano. The game was a bland one, and fans were getting upset because of the lack of aggressive play – it was as though players were not even trying to score. If found guilty, these players face lifetime bans, and their clubs face fines of up to €30,000.

This scandal emerges less than two weeks after a German police investigation found evidence of a large and very well-organized group of ex-players and officials who were allegedly involved in fixing as many as 200 football matches across Europe. While officials are doing whatever they can to watch for signs of match setting through EUFA’s Early Warning System and other means, they simply cannot cover all the bases. Internet betting is becoming increasingly popular across Europe, and online sportsbooks are difficult to monitor. If a resolution to this problem exists, it has yet to be found.

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