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Former ATK midfielder among those arrested in Spanish match-fixing scandal

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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2.72K   //    28 May 2019, 15:01 IST

Borja now plays for Real Valladolid
Borja now plays for Real Valladolid

Several first and second division players were arrested in Spain, as a nationwide crackdown on a match-fixing scandal began, with even the President of Huesca, Agustin Lasaosa being arrested by the authorities.

Real Valladolid's midfielder Borja Fernandez, a former Indian Super League star, was among those arrested in the racket, along with ex-Getafe players Samu Saiz and Carlos Aranda, and Deportivo La Coruna's Inigo Lopez.

According to Marca, police sources had also notified news agency EFE, that the operation is aiming to uncover a sports betting ring, with the accused being linked to organized crime, corruption and money laundering.

Alongside the President of Huesca, a member of the club's medical staff, Juan Carlos Galindo, was also arrested.

Former Real Madrid star Raul Bravo has also been arrested with police claiming that he was the ringleader of the entire operation.

Valladolid's Borja had also spent three seasons in the Indian Super League (ISL), with ATK (then Atletico de Kolkata), and won two ISL titles with the Kolkata side.

Borja was also captain of ATK in ISL 2016, which the side won after they beat Kerala Blasters in the final in a penalty shootout. 

"The police action follows complaints about possible match-fixing in a May 2018 match from La Liga to the Spanish authorities," said a La Liga spokesman.

The game between Huesca and Nastic (also called Club Gimnàstic de Tarragona) in the Segunda Division in 2018 led to the police investigating the possibility of a fixing syndicate. There were large bets placed on the scoreline favouring Nastic winning by a 1-0 margin at full time with the scores remaining 0-0 at half-time.

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As it turned out, Nastic won the game with Ikechukwu Uche scoring in the 72nd minute over Huesca, who had already gained promotion for the La Liga. At that time, Nastic were 29 points below Huesca and were fighting to stay in the Segunda Division.

La Liga has reported a further eight possible match-fixing cases to police.

The spokesman added: "We thank the police for the extraordinary work done to dismantle what appears to be an organized criminal group dedicated to obtaining economic benefits through the predetermination of football matches.

"This police operation demonstrates the effectiveness of integrity protection systems implemented by La Liga to protect the cleanliness of all competitions in Spanish football.
"La Liga continues to fight to eradicate any scourge against fair play in Spanish football."
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