May 29 – Spanish reports claim Real Madrid’s former international defender Raul Bravo is the suspected ringleader of a damaging match-fixing operation that hit the headlines this week and has rocked Spanish football.
Bravo, who made 14 appearances for his country including at Euro 2004, is among a spate of past and present first and second division players and officials arrested in Operation Oikos that involved nine raids across the country.
“Among those to be detained are both active and retired players from the first division, players active in the second division and presidents and directors of a club,” a statement said.
“The investigation has established that those under investigation came to arrangements with different players to ‘fix’ at least three games in the first, second and third divisions.”
The authorities have now confirmed that in a second division match in May 2018, more than 14 times the usual amount was bet on a game in that league, but stopped short of saying which one. However, Spanish reports already identified the game as Huesca versus Nàstic in the penultimate fixture of the 2017-18 season.
Huesca had already earned promotion to La Liga’s top flight, while Nàstic were battling to avoid relegation to Spain’s third tier. Matchfixing watchdogs say at least €10 million was won on the result of the match.
A lawyer for Huesca, who were relegated from La Liga this season, confirmed that various people at the club had been detained on a warrant issued by a local court.
Other Spanish clubs have been quick to react by distancing themselves from the scandal that could have severe repercussions.
La Liga side Real Valladolid issued a statement saying the club had “learned of the arrests related to match-fixing” and that they “are the cause of a La Liga complaint”.
The statement added: “Real Valladolid rejects any type of conduct or fraudulent behaviour, denouncing corruption among individuals, money laundering, criminal organisations or any type of behaviour that originates or could lead to the distortion and corruption of any sports competition.
“Faced with the arrests made, Real Valladolid maintains, as it has done since the day of its constitution, its commitment and fight against corruption or any type of illicit activity that undermines the integrity of sports competitions.”
Valencia also issued a statement saying that reports of “supposed involvement by players and directors of other clubs in illegal gambling and alleged match fixing” are not related to them and that “Valencia CF is an entity completely outside of this matter”.
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