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Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Eldense coach arrested in corruption probe after 12-0 defeat

Reuters , Tuesday 4 Apr 2017
Views: 756
Views: 756

The Italian coach of Spanish third division club Eldense has been arrested in a corruption investigation over alleged match-fixing after his team's 12-0 defeat to Barcelona's B team, Spanish police sources said on Tuesday.

Coach Filippo Di Pierro joined the club in January, hired by the unnamed Italian investment group which managed its sporting and financial affairs until Sunday.

Defender Emmanuel Mendy said in an interview with radio station Cadena Ser on Monday that the club's assistant coach, Fran Ruiz, had spoken to him in the hotel before the game about the plot to fix it.

"He asked me if I was in and how much I wanted and if I wasn't in then I wouldn't play," he said. "Fran said this to me because the head coach doesn't speak very good Spanish."

Also speaking to Cadena Ser, Ruiz confirmed the story but said he was passing on orders from Di Pierro.

"In principle the orders came from above, from the coach. I didn't know what to do, I was between a rock and a hard place," Ruiz said.

"I didn't say a word in the dugout, I made no substitutions and I didn't send anyone out to warm up. Then I resigned from the club."

A police source confirmed Di Pierro had been arrested on suspicion of corruption in connection with the 12-0 defeat but had no further information.

Eldense's Mauritanian striker, Cheikh Saad, first insinuated that the game had been fixed on Sunday in a post on Twitter, writing: "12-0 is not real and everything will soon come to light."

Saad was also among the substitutes during the game and told Cadena Ser he found out about the plan from Mendy. He said he was told players would be paid 30,000 euros ($31,965.00) each for fixing the game.

"The coach told me to come on as a substitute and I said I didn't want to. After the game I came close to punching some of my teammates," Saad said.

The defeat on Saturday, a joint record for Spain's third tier and the heaviest loss in the division since 1992, sealed Eldense's relegation to the Tercera Division.

A day later the club announced it would not play any more fixtures this season and had cut its ties with the group of Italian investors, although president David Aguilar later said Eldense would honour their fixtures.

There is no indication that Barcelona B players had any involvement with the alleged match-fixing.

"It's a very delicate situation but it's exclusively related to Eldense. Barca B have nothing to do with it and is another victim of this racketeering," Barca coach Luis Enrique told reporters on Tuesday.

"I'm glad that it's being investigated and is being taken seriously."

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