PSG express ‘stupefaction’ after claims of Red Star Belgrade match-fixing
French authorities are investigating claims that a Red Star Belgrade official tried to fix the Serbian giants’ 6-1 Champions League Group C loss away at Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month.
UEFA warned France’s National Financial Prosecutor’s office (PNF) of a possible manipulation of the result and according to L’Equipe, the official in question is suspected of betting €5 million via accomplices on Red Star to lose by five goals.
PNF told The Associated Press on Friday that an investigation has been opened but declined to comment further.
L’Equipe’s report states that UEFA alerted PNF days before the two teams met at Parc des Princes on Oct. 3.
It also alleges that some Red Star players were talked into getting involved on the eve of the game, while the alleged corrupt Red Star official had a meeting with PSG chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi scheduled that eventually did not take place.
“It was with the greatest stupefaction that PSG discovered this Friday an article on the L’Equipe website regarding suspicions of match-fixing concerning the UEFA Champions League game with Red Star Belgrade on 3 October and suspicions regarding the alleged actions of bettors from Serbia,” PSG said in a statement responding to the report.
“The club categorically rejects any and all direct and indirect implication in relation to these suspicions and would like to point out at no moment has PSG been approached by the National Financial Court in charge of the investigation.
“PSG remains at the disposal of the investigators and will not tolerate the slightest attack on its reputation nor that of its officials.
“To that end, the club reserves the right to take legal action against any party that makes defamatory statements against the club and/or its officials.
“The club reaffirms its profound attachment to the fundamental principle of sport, which is and always will be the integrity of its competitions.”
Red Star, meanwhile, reacted to L’Equipe’s report with “the highest amount of anger and disgust.”
“The statements in this article seriously undermine our image and the club’s reputation,” the Serbian champions are quoted as saying. “Current technology is so advanced that it is simply impossible that such a case cannot be resolved.
“The truth about this case will be established as soon as possible to ease suspicion about the involvement of one of our leaders in such dishonest activity.”
Contacted for comment by L’Equipe, honorary Red Star president Dragan Dzajic said: “This is the first that I have heard of it,” and that he knows “absolutely nothing about this — it is not possible, it is untrue!”
Red Star’s deputy spokesman Nebojsa Todorovic informed Agence France Presse that he “cannot, in any way, comment on this,” while the spokesman for Serbia’s football association, Milan Vukovic, was unavailable.
The French Regulatory Authority for Online Games (ARJEL), the body responsible for regulating online gambling in France, told L’Equipe that no suspicious bets were made on the game.
“No anomalies were detected on the French betting market,” said ARJEL. “Nor in the partner countries of the Copenhagen Group [22 major European countries], nor via the Global Lottery Monitoring System [GLMS].”