PARIS: Nikola and Luka Karabatic, the world championship-winning French handball heroes, are to appeal against two-month suspended prison sentences imposed on them in a match-fixing betting scam.

The brothers were heroes last Sunday after France beat Norway for the world title in Paris but in midweek the pair were handed the stiffer penalties on appeal in Montpellier, where they played in 2012, having previously only been fined.

France team captain Nikola Karabatic was voted player of the tournament as France won the 2017 world championships. He had led the appeal against a 2015 ruling.

Most of the 16 people involved in the first sentencing in 2015 over the betting scandal, where €100,000 were gambled on a league match their team lost, were handed fines of around €10,000.

But on appeal a judge added a two months suspended prison sentence to each of the brothers.

While Luka Karabatic admitted making bets that their side French champions Montpellier would be losing at half-time against a relegation threatened outfit, elder brother Nikola has always denied the charge – insisting his girlfriend bet and downloaded betting sites onto his phone without his knowledge.

The brothers’ lawyer, lawyer Jean-Marc Darrigade, told  French media: “We will lodge the appeal Friday for Nikola, Luka and their girlfriends.”