Match-fixing probe finds hundreds of suspicious soccer games


THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — European authorities say organized crime gangs have fixed or attempted to fix hundreds of soccer matches around the world in recent years.

They say the matches included World Cup and European Championship qualifiers, and two Champions League games.

According to Europol -- the police agency of the European Union -- an 18-month review found nearly 400 suspicious matches in Europe, and another 300 questionable games elsewhere -- mainly in Africa, Asia and South and Central America.

It also found evidence that a crime syndicate based in Singapore was involved in some of the match-fixing.

The agency wouldn't name any suspected matches or individuals, saying it would interfere with ongoing investigations. So it's not clear how much of the information had already been revealed in trials across the continent.

Still, a German investigator says it's just "the tip of the iceberg."

It's the latest body blow for the credibility of sports, after the admission by cyclist Lance Armstrong that he used performance-enhancing drugs in all seven of his Tour de France wins.

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156-a-16-(Rob Wainwright, director, Europol, the European Union's joint police force, at news conference)-"professional football matches"-Europol Director Rob Wainwright says many soccer officials and players have been fixing matches. (4 Feb 2013)

<<CUT *156 (02/04/13)>> 00:16 "professional football matches"

155-a-07-(Rob Wainwright, director, Europol, the European Union's joint police force, at news conference)-"widespread football match-fixing"-Rob Wainwright is director of the European Union police force called Europol. He says their investigation of soccer has found match-fixing that involves powerful criminal gangs. (4 Feb 2013)

<<CUT *155 (02/04/13)>> 00:07 "widespread football match-fixing"

APPHOTO PDJ106: Eurojust president Michele Coninsx, left, and Friedhelm Althans, chief investigator of the Bochum police in Germany, talk at the start of a press conference on findings of a probe into match fixing, in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday Feb. 4, 2013. The European police agency is unveiling results of a major investigation across the continent into match fixing in football, including what it is calling "top international games." The presentation will likely be one of the most comprehensive overviews yet of rigging games. Investigators from Germany, Finland, Hungary and Slovenia are presenting the results of probes into the murky world of fixing matches and the huge sums of money involved. Football already has been rocked by several match-fixing cases, most notably in Germany and Italy. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong) (4 Feb 2013)

<<APPHOTO PDJ106 (02/04/13)>>

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