THE HAGUE: The two Champions League games targeted by matchfixers are being reported in Denmark as featuring the Hungarian club Debrecen writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Danish newspaper Ekstrabladet, which has studied the matchfixing investigations co-ordinated by Europol, has pieced together the evidence by reference to the Bochum court case in Germany two years ago which blew open the scale of European matchfixing.
Europol’s summary of the work of Operation Veto claimed two 2009 Champions League games had come under suspicion. One was Debrecen’s 1-0 defeat by Liverpool the other the club’s 4-3 beating at home by Fiorentina. In both Group E matches heavy betting had apparently been laid on Debrecen’s Montenegrin keeper Radomir Vukasin Poleksic conceding three or more goals.
There is no suggestion that either the Liverpool or Fiorentina clubs or any of their officials or players knew of the alleged fix or were in any way a party to it.
Poleksic, who has played 22 times for Montenegro, is likely to be in the squad for next month’s crucial World Cup qualifier against England in Podgorica. He was on the bench for their 3-0 victory over San Marino last November.
Liverpool played home to Debrecen on September 16, 2009, in the opening matches of the group stage of that season’s Champions League and were expected to win decisively. However they were far below their best and scored only once when Poleksic failed to hold a shot from Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt scored just before half-time.
Next time out saw Debrecen lose 4-0 at home to Lyon. Then came the home game against Fiorentina in which Debrecen were already 4-2 down at half-time.
They finished bottom of the group having lost all six games, scoring five goals and conceding 19.
In June 2010 Poleksic was banned for two years for having failed to report a matchfix attempt. UEFA inquiries could not prove that Poleksic had connived but he was suspended for contravening regulations that all players and officials must report any matchfixing attempt.
In May 2011 his appeal against the ban was rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport but he has now returned this season to playing for Debrecen.
Poleksic had played once for the former Yugoslavia, in 2002, then kept goal for Montenegro in the country’s first international after independence, against Hungary in March 2007. He has amassed 22 caps for his country.
A spokesman for Debrecen said neither club nor player had any comment to make.
Liverpool and the Football Association were similarly in the dark.
A Liverpool spokesman said: “We’ve not had any contact from Europol and no other agency has been in touch with Liverpool.”
The Football Association stated: “The FA is not aware of any credible reports into suspicious Champions League fixtures in England, nor has any information been shared with us.”
Other Champions League matches to attract investigators’ attention were the two ties in the 2009 Champions League qualifying rounds in which Denmark’s Kobenhavn thrashed FK Mogren of Montenegro 6-0 both home and away.
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