UEFA opens probe into Bayern match-fixing claims

BY foxsports • September 16, 2010

UEFA promised Bayern Munich on Thursday it will investigate claims that its anti-corruption investigators falsely alleged the German champion was suspected of match-fixing.

In a concession to Bayern, UEFA said it ''understands the reasons'' why the club asked Munich prosecutors to open a criminal case for defamation against two named officials whom it also asked UEFA to fire.

''Bayern Munich has been informed that, in order to clarify the case, UEFA has already opened an internal investigation on the whole matter,'' the European football authority said in a statement.

Late on Wednesday, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino responded to the legal suit by saying that Bayern was ''over-reacting.''

The tone was calmer Thursday after the two sides arranged peace talks.

UEFA said its president Michel Platini and Infantino had an ''open and constructive conversation'' with Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and vice chairman Karl Hopfner.

''It was mentioned that, in the light of the recent press coverage, UEFA understands the reasons for the reaction of Bayern Munich,'' UEFA said.

However, there was no suggestion that Bayern has dropped the legal action, which followed a report published Wednesday on the website of German magazine Stern.

It alleged that UEFA's head of disciplinary services Peter Limacher and investigator Robin Boksic were behind unsubstantiated claims that Bayern deliberately lost against Zenit St. Petersburg in the second leg of the 2008 UEFA Cup semifinals. Zenit won 4-0 in Russia after a 1-1 draw in Munich.

Rummenigge said he would not let anyone ''sully the image and reputation of Bayern.''

''How we reacted was well-considered - it wasn't shooting from the hip,'' Rummenigge said after his club's 2-0 win over AS Roma in the Champions League Wednesday night.

Rumors that the Zenit-Bayern game was fixed by Russian mobsters circulated five months after it was played.

A Spanish judge investigating a Russian crime syndicate provided information to prosecutors in Munich who decided there was too little evidence to proceed.

UEFA has since appointed Limacher to lead its fight against match-fixing, including cooperation with specialist police fraud officers in Bochum, Germany, who are probing nearly 300 matches across Europe which are suspected of being fixed for betting coups by a Croatian crime syndicate based in Berlin.

UEFA said Wednesday that Limacher enjoyed its ''entire trust,'' and that it would address allegations against Boksic by clarifying his role in certain investigations.


AP Writer Geir Moulson contributed from Berlin.

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