By Andrew Warshaw
April 4 – A highly suspect 12-0 victory by Barcelona’s B team over Eldense last weekend is to be investigated by Spanish authorities for possible match-fixing.
La Liga president Javier Tebas said the inquiry had been requested by Eldense’s board of directors following the defeat on April Fool’s Day which relegated the Alicante-based club to the fourth tier of Spanish football.
Tebas told reporters: “We are going to look into it because the Eldense board have asked us to and the result at half time (8-0) was out of the ordinary.”
“We’re going to investigate because there are certain collateral issues with an Italian investment group that bear the hallmarks of the possible involvement of an international betting ring which may be related to match-fixing.”
Barcelona B competes in Segunda Division B, the third tier of Spanish football, and after the game, in which Barca led 8-0 at halftime, Eldense striker Cheik Saad made some remarkable allegations in a radio programme while the board announced all sporting activity would be suspended and ties with a group of Italian investors cut.
“There are four players involved in match fixing. I don’t care what happens, but when I can, I will give the names of these players,” Saad was quoted as saying.
“Half an hour before playing the game against Barcelona B I was starting, but then I was out of the line-up. They told a teammate this game was fixed and if he wanted to play he should not score goals. They didn’t ask me as they knew what my answer would be. The coach knew something, I’m sure, and the players too.”
“The coach told me to come on and I told him I did not want to. I also told my teammates on the bench that they shouldn’t go out on to the pitch if they didn’t want their names to be stained.”
A spokesman for the investment group, Jose Miguel Esquembre, said the board did not have the authority to suspend the activities of CD Eldense whose crushing defeat was a joint record score for the Segunda B division and sealed their relegation with six games of the season left to go.
As the plot thickened, Spanish police said Filippo di Pierro, Eldense’s Italian coach, had been arrested as part of a corruption probe.
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