Rumor has it that a team official worked behind the scenes to simulate the outcome of a Champions League football match. That’s what investigators are trying to debunk after a large bet surfaced for a group stage match this month. It’s no surprise that the wager is a notch above the rest as reports say the bet was estimated at $5.7 million.
On October 3, Paris St. Germain (PSG), currently number one on the French Ligue 1, faced Red Star Belgrade that ended with a loft-sided scoreline. PSG went on to trash the Serbian SuperLiga club 6-1. While this may seem like an understandable outcome to many, the fact that an unidentified official with Red Star placed a €5-million bet before the game is questionable in itself. Currently, French police are trying to discover the truth, according to a report by notable sports news outlet L’Equipe. The news outlet mentions that the official placed a bet that his team would lose by five goals.
UEFA’s administrative body reportedly informed the police after it became alarming when it found out about the sizable bet. The police have confirmed that they are administering an investigation, but are yet to provide more details about the matter at hand.
Red Star is not the only team under the radar for suspected match fixing. This past Friday, Belgian prosecutors unveiled charges against 19 people for crimes associated with match fixing. Those charges involve two referees, several football agents and the coach of Club Brugge of Belgium, Ivan Leko. All involved parties are to be sentenced for either illegally profiting from match fixing or from simulating game outcomes.
Nearing the closing of last season, Belgian prosecutors made aware their concerns that two games had been fixed in the country’s second division. The prosecutors looked into the case and eventually accused a football agent, Dejan Veljkovic, of colluding with game officials and referees in an attempt to prevent KV Mechelen from being relegated to the third tier. Fortunately, his attempt to rig the results did not materialize.
Clearly, a bet that large couldn’t steer away from the attention. However, so far, there is no evidence that any foul play was involved. For its part, Red Star is supporting the investigation and stated, “The allegations from this report can cause great damage to the reputation of our club, and therefore Red Star insists both UEFA and the competent investigating authorities in Serbia and France investigate these doubts to the end and come to the truth.”