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SBD Global/February 6, 2013/International Football

Liverpool's 2009 Champions League Match Reported To Be In Fixing Scandal

Liverpool's David Ngog scores the first goal during the 2009 Champions League match against Debrecen.
A Champions League match in England that was "believed to be corrupt" has been identified as a 1-0 Liverpool win over Hungarian side Debrecen in the '09 Champions League group stage, according to Paul Kelso of the London TELEGRAPH. The report in Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet said that Europol sources had "confirmed that the match between Debrecen and Liverpool was the one involved." The newspaper claimed that the game had "already been highlighted in a Dutch book about match-fixing." It stressed that Liverpool was "not under suspicion." The report claimed that fixers "wanted to rig the betting market for total goals in the match, but failed." The newspaper claimed that fixers "wanted to ensure there were at least three goals in the match," and that according to court papers they "texted each other to express frustration at Liverpool’s failure to score more" (TELEGRAPH, 2/4).

LIVERPOOL REACTS: The PA's Martyn Ziegler reported Liverpool said that it has "had no contact from Europol or any other body" in connection with the allegations. A Liverpool spokesperson said, "We have had no contact from Europol or any other organization over this." FIFA Head of Security Ralf Mutschke has "called for tougher prison sentences for match-fixing." Mutschke said that football "could ban perpetrators for life" -- but that the courts "need to crack down harder" (PA, 2/5). In London, Ashling O'Connor reported "there is no suggestion that anybody at Liverpool, including players or club officials, were involved in any wrongdoing." The reaction to reports that a game in England was fixed "was sceptical." The FA said, "The FA are not aware of any credible reports into suspicious Champions League fixtures in England, nor has any information been shared with us." Former policeman Paul Scotney, who led the British Horseracing Authority’s integrity unit for nine years, said he would be “very surprised” if it involved anyone from an English team. Scotney said, "We are very robust here. It's more likely the visiting team or match officials" (LONDON TIMES, 2/5). Also in London, Martin Lipton reported the identification of the game "lifted the shadow of suspicion that had hung over the other five Premier League teams" who had played in the Champions League since '09 (DAILY MIRROR, 2/5).

HUNGARY ALLEGATION: In London, Robin Scott-Elliot noted the report claims the Hungarian side's goalkeeper, Vukasin Poleksic, of Montenegro, was bribed "to ensure the match ended with at least three goals." Poleksic was "again the recipient of an alleged bribe for a match against Fiorentina later in the group stage." That match "has been the focus of a previous investigation by German authorities." In June '10 Poleksic was banned for two years for failing to report an approach by match fixers (INDEPENDENT, 2/5).
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