sport

Huge match-fixing revealed

The European police agency (Europol) has revealed that a wide-ranging investigation into match-fixing has uncovered more than 380 suspicious matches.

These games include World Cup and European Championship qualifiers and two UEFA Champions League games, one of which was in England.

Europol's chief Rob Wainwright said the investigation found "match fixing activity on a scale we have not seen before", with one of the matches an unnamed Champions League clash in England.

Wainwright revealed the probe uncovered around 7m in betting profits and 1.27m in bribes to players and officials and has already led to several prosecutions.

The investigation identified about 425 corrupt officials, players and serious criminals in 15 countries and 50 arrests have been made so far.

Wainwright also stated that the involvement of organised crime "highlights a big problem for the integrity of football in Europe" with Asian gambling cartels identified as part of the match fixing operation.

Wainwright would not reveal the identity of the Champions League match staged in England under suspicion due to "ongoing judicial proceedings" - but he did confirm it had taken place in the "last three to four years" and admitted England was not a country under particular scrutiny.

He said: "The focus has been on other countries, not the United Kingdom. However we were surprised by the scale generally of the criminal enterprise and just how widespread it was.

"It would be naive and complacent of those in the UK to think such a criminal conspiracy does not involve the English game and all the football in Europe."

Europol also found another 300 questionable games outside Europe, mainly in Africa, Asia, South and Central America.