More players 'confess' to match-fixing

17th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

17 February 2006, BRUSSELS — Three former players of SK Lierse have reportedly confessed they were also 'bought' by the gambling mafia last year.

17 February 2006

BRUSSELS — Three former players of SK Lierse have reportedly confessed they were also 'bought' by the gambling mafia last year.

The revelations come after reports emerged on Thursday that two current players and an assistant trainer with the First Division club had confessed to match-fixing allegations.

But now, former Lierse players Marius Mitu, Laurent Delorge and Ninoslav Milenkovic have also reportedly confessed they were bought by the gambling mafia linked to Chinese businessman Zheyun Ye.

Mitu and Delorge currently play with Anderlecht, while Milenkovic is now on Germinal Beerschot's list.

If the media reports are eventually confirmed by the public prosecution office, six current or former Lierse players will have confessed to involvement in the deepening match-fixing scandal.

The five players and trainer are alleged to have received EUR 10,000 each for every match 'sold'. At least three matches are reported to have been fixed.

Despite the fact Lierse had problems paying its players last season, the players are not believed to have 'sold out' for the money alone, but also the idea that the club would gain financially.

It is possible that Ye promised the suspects that he would invest in the Lierse club. And after approaching many clubs, Lierse is the only club that Ye actually invested in, eventually buying a EUR 370,000 stake in the club.

But some players are also reported to have told police they were threatened by the gambling mafia, particularly after refusing out of pride to lose a match against Anderlecht on 18 February 2005.

The match ended 1-1 and the players were reportedly forced to repay the mafia the money they had initially been paid to 'throw' the match.

The father of Cliff Mardulier — who is said to have confessed on Wednesday — was also quoted by a newspaper on Friday that his son had been threatened with a gun.

Meanwhile, as police investigations continue, the attention will shift in coming days to whether club leaders instructed Lierse players to lose matches.

If it is proven that club management issued orders for matches to be lost, the implicated players might be cleared of any wrongdoing because they would have only been following orders.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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