Match-fixing charges surface

A new round of match-fixing suspicions in European soccer emerged yesterday, this time following allegations by a program on Belgian state-run television, with implications alluding to a Greek club’s involvement. The program alleged that an Italian agent, Piedro Alata, known to travel to and from Greece relatively frequently, was the master of a match-fixing network whose operations determined the results of at least six games involving Belgian club La Louviere. The Italian agent is believed to have made recent trips to Greece. A little over a year ago, Greece’s public prosecutions office had investigated allegations of match fixing surrounding a UEFA Cup tie between Panionios and Georgian club Dinamo Tblisi. But no conclusions were reached. British bookmakers had suspended markers after suspicious betting patterns on the game, which the Athens club won 5-2 after trailing 1-0 at half time. Enormous amounts of money were staked by gamblers on Panionios to be losing at halftime and winning at full-time. The Belgian club has denied all allegations. Following the allegations, La Louviere’s chief administrator held a meeting with his coaching staff and players, during which he endorsed his faith in them. The team’s coach contended that certain individuals were out to damage the team’s fine on-field reputation of late.

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