Friday 07 October 2022

Dutch football association acts on match-fixing claims

football ballThe Dutch football association KNVB has made a formal police complaint about potential match-fixing involving premier division clubs, the Volkskrant said on Sunday.

The paper says match-fixers from Singapore paid some €100,000 to players at Eredivisie side Willem II who were prepared to throw a match in the 2009/10 season.

The paper focuses on two matches: Ajax-Willem II (4-0) in October 2009 and Feyenoord-Willem II (1-0) in December that year.

The first match – in which the gamblers betted on a goal difference of at least three – netted the syndicate at least €1m, the paper said. The second game did not go according to plan and the bought players failed to engineer the two-goal difference.

The Tilburg club said in a reaction it is shocked by the claims. ‘Match-fixing does not fit in with the standards and values of Willem II,’ the club said.

The Volkskrant identifies Willem II midfielder Ibrahim Kargbo (32) as the main suspect. The Sierra Leone international is said to have made appointments in Tilburg cafes to discuss the bribes and the desired results.

He is then said to have persuaded other players to work with him. The paper did not name names, citing a lack of concrete evidence.

Sources

The paper bases its claims on three match-fixers, of whom two had earlier been jailed for similar offences and who named both Kargbo and Willem II independently of each other. The paper says it then consulted ‘dozens’ of sources in the Netherlands and abroad to verify the claims.

Kargbo admits being approached by match-fixers, the paper says, and admits to having been in touch with a prominent gambling syndicate member during his time at Willem II but denies taking money to lose a match.

‘It is rude not to answer emails but I swear on my children that I have never met him,’ the paper quotes Kargbo as saying.

Payroll

The paper says Kargbo came in contact with match-fixers via the Sierra Leone national side and that several players and local officials are on the Singaporeans’ payroll.

He was suspended as an international last summer because of match-fixing allegations and is considered to be a potential risk by Uefa. He now plays for Portuguese team Atletico in Lisbon.

The KNVB said in a statement it would do all it could to get to the bottom of the claims, which are ‘the most concrete case yet in the Netherlands’ of alleged fixing. This included making a formal complaint so that the public prosecutor will launch a criminal investigation.

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