MADRID: Spanish football has been assailed by new matchfixing accusations, this time concerning a crucial relegation match last season between Espanyol and Osasuna writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Reports emerged earlier this week only two months after nearly 40 individuals – including recently-sacked Japan coach Javier Aguirre – were named in a scandal over a match between Levante and Zaragoza in 2011.
Officials of Espanyol and Osasuna have all denied any wrongdoing although Osasuna’s new president Luis Sabalza has said that he cannot vouch for the previous regime.
Sabalza has conceded that accountants commissioned by the Sports Ministry anf the National Sports Council have been studying club’s books and certain withdrawn sums totalling €1.5m remain unexplained.
being investigated for alleged matchfixing.
Allegations surrounding Osasuna concern three games but the one in Barcelona in May on the penultimate matchday of last season was the most important.
The game ended 1-1, with both goals being scored in the first half. Spanish media reports have alleged that the clubs had agreed beforehand on a draw. In fact that did Osasuna no good. They were relegated even despite winning at home to Betis on the final day.
Rafael Entrena, an Espanyol vice-president, said: “RCD Espanyol of Barcelona has had no part in any matchfixing or any irregularity. We will cooperate in full with the public prosecutor and all the sporting authorities.”
Sabalza, who took over at Osasuna in December, said: “I was not in charge of the club at the time and am not aware of matches being bought. There was no benefit to Osasunma because the club was relegated.”
Last December, Japan coach Javier Aguirre, Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera, Atletico Madrid captain Gabi and 38 others were named in an alleged case of match fixing involving a 2-1 defeat at home by Zaragoza on the last day of in the 2010-11 season.
Levante players were allegedly paid €965,000 in cash to lose.