Soccer

19 suspects in Czech-Slovak match-fixing probe

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PRAGUE (AP)

Police say a total of 12 football players, former and current, have been detained in the Czech Republic and another seven in Slovakia suspected of match-fixing.

Spokesman Jaroslav Ibehej said in a statement Thursday that police conducted 15 raids in their homes and other places in the Czech Republic since a probe into football corruption began a day earlier. He said the 12 suspects, who are from various divisions within the game, are accused of bribery. Another 20 players are being questioning.

Ihebej said police are cooperating with colleagues in Slovakia. He declined to provide further details.

In Slovakia, police officer Tibor Gaspar said four current players of top-division club Dunajska Streda and three former players are among the suspects.

Gaspar said the scandal hit "19 matches in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia, including the duels in the top leagues. In all cases, it was about online betting at Asian agencies."

He said the main organizer of the scheme was from Asia but gave no details. He said players were offered bribes of up to 60,000 euros ($79,740).

Czech public radio and television reported that the players are mostly from lower divisions but that some are from the top Czech league.

In a brief comment on Thursday, the Czech football federation said it discovered about 11 months ago some irregularities in lower competitions and informed police.

The players face a ban of up to five years.

The Slovak federation said it has been actively cooperating with investigators and provided all necessary information.

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