La Liga duo deny fixing claims

2015-02-18 09:24
La Liga (File)

Madrid - Espanyol and Osasuna have denied wrongdoing after reports in Spanish media said their La Liga game at the end of last season was being investigated for alleged match-fixing.

The game at Espanyol's stadium in Barcelona on the penultimate matchday in May last year ended 1-1, with Espanyol taking a 21st-minute lead and Osasuna levelling a minute before halftime.

Reports said the two rivals had agreed beforehand on a draw. Osasuna were subsequently relegated even though they won at home to Real Betis on the final day, while Espanyol finished just above the drop zone despite losing 3-1 at Real Madrid.

"We want to make it absolutely clear that RCD Espanyol of Barcelona has had no part in any matchfixing or any irregularity," Rafael Entrena, an Espanyol vice president, said on the club's website ( on Tuesday.

"We defend the purity and the sporting nature of the competition, now and always," he added.

"RCD Espanyol will collaborate actively and resolutely, both with the public prosecutor and all the sporting authorities, to take the investigation of these facts to its conclusion.

"And if the investigation shows that someone committed any irregularity they will have to face the consequences."

Osasuna president Luis Sabalza, who was not in charge of the club at the time, told a news conference on Tuesday the club "was not aware of matches being bought".

"Osasuna had no benefit because the team was relegated," he added.

The match is the second to come under the spotlight in recent months in a league where it has long been suspected that games are routinely manipulated by teams trying to avoid relegation.

In December, Japan coach Javier Aguirre, Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera, Atletico Madrid captain Gabi and 38 others were named in an alleged case of match fixing involving a La Liga match in the 2010-11 season.

The case involves Real Zaragoza's 2-1 win at Levante on the final day, which meant Zaragoza avoided relegation. Mexican Aguirre was coach of Zaragoza at the time, while Spaniards Herrera and Gabi were playing for the club.

The prosecutor alleges that the Levante players were paid a total of $1.1 million in cash to deliberately lose the game.

Read more on:    osasuna  |  espanyol  |  la liga  |  soccer


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