Liverpool match linked with fixing allegations

A Liverpool Champions League tie against Debrecen of Hungary from 2009 is alleged to have been "fixed". A report from the police intelligence-gathering agency Europol has identified around 380 matches it is investigating closely. A Danish newspaper has reported that the Anfield game is among them.

Liverpool have said they have not been contacted about the match, by Europol or UEFA. There is no suggestion that Liverpool colluded in the fixing of the match, which they won 1-0, but the allegations may centre on the Debrecen goakeeper Vukasin Poleksic.

Poleksic was banned by UEFA for two years in 2010 for failing to report an approach from match-fixers in another match. The Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected the player’s appeal, saying: "It had been proven that there had been contacts between the player and the members of a criminal group involved in match-fixing and betting fraud."

The 2009 match would not have seemed an obvious candidate for suspicion. Debrecen defended very impressively and Liverpool struggled to break them down. Liverpool missed several chances and Poleksic made some outstanding saves. The FA expressed surprise at the allegations. "The FA are not aware of any credible reports into suspicious Champions League fixtures in England," it said in a statement, "nor has any information been shared with us."

In 2111 Turkish club Fenerbahce were thrown out of the Champions League as a result of revelations about match-fixing in Turkey, and Italy has been rocked by numerous match-fixing revelations in recent seasons.

The Europol report suggests that match-fixing has been far more prevalent in football than hitherto believed. Europol director Rob Wainwright said that 425 match officials, club officials, players, and serious criminals, from more than 15 countries, are suspected of being involved in attempts to fix matches. FIFA has called for tougher sentences for criminals found guilty of match-fixing.

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