Bayern sues UEFA officials over corruption report
Bayern Munich filed suit Wednesday against the head of UEFA's disciplinary service and another official, after a magazine report claimed the duo were behind unsubstantiated corruption allegations against the club.
Bayern said it filed a criminal complaint with Munich prosecutors against Peter Limacher and fellow UEFA employee Robin Boksic, following the allegations in a report in Germany's Stern magazine.
UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino responded that Bayern was ''overreacting,'' and denied that Europe's football authority suspected the German champion of conspiring to lose a 2008 match against Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg.
''We have never considered (Bayern) to be guilty of anything, and I am surprised to see them attacking UEFA like this,'' Infantino said in a statement.
Infantino said Limacher was ''at the forefront'' of UEFA's fight against match-fixing, and that the body was ready to take legal action to defend its own and his integrity.
UEFA said it has written to Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge expressing shock at his club's legal move. Only last week, Rummenigge talked of his close working relationship with UEFA president Michel Platini after the two former European footballers of the year shared dinner in Geneva during a gathering of Europe's top clubs.
Stern reported on its website that Boksic was the source of 2008 allegations that Russian crime bosses manipulated a UEFA Cup semifinals match between Bayern and Zenit. German prosecutors said at the time they had no evidence to start an investigation.
Bayern said the magazine report indicates that the two officials discredited clubs ''including FC Bayern Munich, with gross falsehoods and defamatory statements.''
Bayern said the two officals ''must be severely penalized.'' The club called for a statement from Platini and said it ''expects immediate action with regard to the continued employment of Peter Limacher and Robin Boksic.''
Infantino said UEFA placed its ''entire trust'' in Limacher, who has helped the body work with a specialist police fraud unit in Bochum, Germany, to investigate nearly 300 matches across Europe which are suspected of being fixed for betting coups by a Croatian crime syndicate based in Berlin.
''UEFA and the clubs are on the same side in such a battle, and we should remain united, to be stronger against corruption,'' Infantino said.
UEFA said it would clarify ''the past contribution of Robin Boksic to certain match-fixing investigations'' and address allegations against him.
Stern also reported that World Cup organizer FIFA had questioned the quality and accuracy of Boksic's investigative work when he was involved in anti-corruption operations during the tournament in South Africa.
''As a matter of principle FIFA does not discuss issues of security publicly,'' football's world governing body said in a statement to The Associated Press. ''However, FIFA takes all initiatives available to it to protect the integrity of the game.''
FIFA said it would not comment on legal action between UEFA and Bayern.
In the UEFA Cup semifinal match at the heart of the case, Bayern lost 4-0 away to Zenit in May 2008 after the sides drew the first-leg 1-1 in Germany.
Munich prosecutors were contacted several months later by a Spanish judge who was investigating Russian mobsters based in Spain, whom the judge suspected of involvement in fixing the return match in St. Petersburg.