A Norwegian lower-tier football player has been detained in a match-fixing investigation, the latest scandal to hit the country this week following allegations made by players of cheating in both the Premier League and Spanish league.
Third-tier club Follo issued a statement on its website confirming the arrest of one of its players - who was not named - and called it ''a very serious situation'' and a ''tough day'' for the club.
''I have just been told that one of our fellow players has been detained in the case, and that's a hard-hitting and tough message to get,'' team captain Anders Lubeck said in the statement. ''But the most important thing is that the truth and the facts come out - for all involved.''
Norwegian news agency NTB reported earlier Thursday that a 20-year-old Follo player was suspected of ''benefiting or receiving money for fixing match results.''
Police opened an investigation after the Norwegian Football Association on Monday requested a probe into several suspect results in Norwegian third-tier games. Police could not be reached for comment about the arrest or investigation.
Allegations about cheating in both the domestic and foreign leagues have been ripe in Norway this week, with the most attention-grabbing claims having been made by former Southampton captain Claus Lundekvam. The now retired Lundekvam told broadcaster NRK that he and many others in the Premier League had earned ''lots of money'' from spot-fixing when he played for the club in 1996-2008.
FIFA said Wednesday it was investigating Lundekvam's Premier League spot-fixing.
Lundekvam also said he knew of players in the Norwegian league who had fixed games, but did not name them.
On Wednesday, former Sevilla goalkeeper Frode Olsen told Norwegian financial daily Dagens Naeringsliv that he had informed the former coach of Norwegian club Valerenga, Martin Andresen, that the Spanish team would lose a game to Oviedo in 2000 to harm a relegation-threatened rival. Olsen said Andresen then placed a winning bet on the game.
At the center of the Follo investigation is a 4-3 loss to Oestsiden, where the team led 3-0 before conceding four goals in the last 20 minutes. On the same day, fellow third-tier club Asker lost 7-1 to Frigg.
Suspicions of match-fixing or irregularities began last week, after the association received tips they felt compelled to react to by postponing a second-tier game between Ull/Kisa and Hamar. The game, set to be played on Sunday, was feared to be rigged.
The federation held a news conference later that evening saying they had received tips of possible match-fixing.
''This is a signal that we are taking this seriously,'' said Kjetil Siem, head of the association.
Norwegian third-tier matches could have escaped attention from a Europe-wide betting monitoring system created by UEFA, which spends millions of euros each year on a betting fraud detection system.
UEFA tracks patterns of wagers on all matches in its competitions, plus the top two divisions of each national league and national cup matches in its 53 member countries.