European football was dealt something of a shock last night as Europol announced some of the preliminary findings from their investigation into potential match-fixing in the game. The results have been nothing short of extraordinary.
According to Europol there has been 380 football matches identified as ‘fixed’ with about 450 corrupt officials, players and criminals similarly identified. Suspected matches included World Cup and European Championship qualifiers as well as Champions League ties and top matches in big European leagues.
It is believed a crime syndicate in Asia was in cohesion with criminal networks in Europe to implement the match-fixing and earned up to €8 million in the illegal scheme.
In the UK the most shocking aspect was the revelation that one of the games in question was a Champions League match played in the UK within the last four to five years; which due to judicial reasoning’s could not be named.
However Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet believes they know exactly which game was rigged and who it involved; Liverpool.
In their report they ascertain that the Liverpool v Debrecen match at Anfield in 2009 is the fixture in question; a game which Liverpool won 1-0 through a Dirk Kuyt goal. They claim that the Debrecen goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic would have been asked to try conceding 2.5 goals in the game; something he reportedly also did in a 4-3 home defeat to Fiorentina later in the campaign.
However he failed to succeed despite spilling Fernando Torres’ drive into the path of the Dutchman Liverpool played poorly in the tie and were lacklustre in front of goal. The report even goes on to claim that those at the centre of the match-fixing complained via intercepted texts that Steven Gerrard in particular was poor in front of goal.
The Montenegrin goalkeeper in question, Poleksic, has since been handed a global ban after failing to report an incident of an approach to fix a match despite none of the offers being accepted or successful in their implementation. He still currently plays for Debrecen after failing with an appeal against his global ban he returned to action at the start of this season.
We want to know whether any Liverpool fans remember the game. Is there potential for something iffy to have been going on?
Let us know your thoughts.
image: © k1ngk0ng