Premier League Must not be Complacent on Match-Fixing

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By Rory Smith, The Telegraph

Declan Hill, author of The Fix: Soccer and Organised Crime, inspired a pan-European investigation into match-fixing following his special reports published in The Sunday Telegraph 12 months ago.

As a result, more than 200 matches, including several in the Champions League, Europa League and one European Under-21 Championship qualifier, as well as league games in Germany and in several countries across Eastern Europe, are being investigated.

Raids across Europe, including one in the Greater London area, on Friday led to 17 arrests and more than £900,000 in cash, as well as documents, being seized.

While none of the games under suspicion were played in England, France, Italy or Spain, the authorities in Europe's most powerful leagues have been warned not to grow complacent.

"I would be very, very strong in warning the authorities in Spain and the UK not to fall asleep at the wheel," said Hill. "I was in Asia three weeks ago, talking to bookmakers and fixers, and they said they had contacts in the Premier League. Their presence is very strong there."

Uefa's integrity unit prompted police in Germany to act and a year-long investigation eventually unearthed a betting ring which had earned more than £10 million.

The response in Germany, where several clubs in the country's lower leagues are being investigated, has been unequivocal. "We owe it to the fans that we do everything in our power to ensure a clean competition," said Dr Theo Zwanziger, the head of the German Football League (DFL).

The president of Osnabruck, the first German club to be named as part of the investigation, has admitted one of his players has already received "financial and psychological" help after growing indebted to a gambling syndicate.

A further two players at the club are believed to be suspected of arranging the outcome of matches.  

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