PRAGUE/BRATISLAVA: Nineteen players have been arrested by Czech and Slovak police in the latest action against matchfixing in European football.

A further 20 players have also been questioned over links to a top division manipulations linked to betting rings in Asia.

In Slovakia the arrested include four players from top division Dunajska Streda and three former players. The 12 arrested in Czech Republic are from the top two divisions.

Slovak police commander Tibor Gaspar said: “The head of the organised group was a person from Asia who, using intermediaries, solicited players in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. He offered players bribes of €2,000 to €60,000 per match. This included 19 matches in the Czech Republic and Slovakia including top league matches this season.”

Czech police, in a statement from Prague, said officers had raided 15 homes and other premises in the inquiry which was prompted by an investigation run originally by the Czech football federation.

The federation said: “We first received serious findings 11 months ago that not all is in order in lower leagues in terms of betting.”

FIFPro, the international players’ union, warned 18 months ago that erratic payments by clubs in eastern Europe left players vulnerable to persuasion from matchfixers.