Players, referees, and other football officials among hundreds suspected of being involved in match-fixing syndicate.
Police have uncovered a criminal network suspected of fixing 380 football matches, including in the Champions League and World Cup qualifiers, Europol announced on Monday.
“It is clear to us that this is the biggest investigation ever into suspected match fixing,” Europol chief Rob Wainwright told journalists.
At least 425 referees, players and other officials are suspected of involvement, with matches rigged so that major sums of money could be won through betting.
Most of the allegedly fixed matches were played in Turkish, German and Swiss championships, but other matches around the world are also concerned.
Two of Europe’s Champions League matches and some World Cup qualifiers are also suspected, Europol said.
Europol showed television coverage of a suspect match, an international between Argentina and Bolivia, during which a Hungarian referee awards a highly dubious penalty.
At a news conference in The Hague, Netherlands, Europol claimed:
The fixed Champions League tie in England took place in “last three or four years”;
The identity of that match cannot be revealed due to “ongoing judicial proceedings”;
Other “corrupt” matches included World Cup and European Championship qualifiers and “several top football matches in European leagues”;
In Germany-based matches alone, criminals wagered £13.8m (16m euros) on rigged matches and made £6.9m in profits
Officials fear this is as the “tip of the iceberg”.