June 08, 2010

Croatian police conduct arrests for football match-fixing

The Croatian police have arrested more than a dozen people in alleged match-fixing and betting scams in a nationwide anti-corruption operation, a police spokesperson said on Tuesday.

"We have arrested a large number of individuals in several Croatian counties," Krunoslav Borovec told the state radio, adding that arrests were continuing.

Local media reported that around 20 people were arrested in operation "Offside". In the past year Croatia has stepped up its fight against corruption and organised crime — a key condition for its EU accession talks — and some top managers and former government officials have been indicted or are under investigation.

Last November, police in Germany, Britain, Austria and Switzerland cracked down on a match-fixing ring in what UEFA, football's governing body in Europe, called the biggest betting scandal in Europe.

Some 32 matches in Germany's lower divisions as well as dozens of first or second division matches in Turkey, Belgium, Bosnia, Hungary, Croatia, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia were under investigation.

Croatian soccer officials said at the time that only one match in the Croatian first division had been included in investigation.

It was not immediately clear if the arrests are related to last year's Europe-wide scandal.

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