Match-Fix Ban For Macedonian Club


Story from BBC SPORT:
2009/04/17 17:20:18 GMT

Macedonian club FK Pobeda have been banned from European competitions
for eight years having been found guilty of deliberately losing
a match.

Club president Aleksandar Zabrcanec and former captain Nikolce
Zdravevski were handed lifetime bans by UEFA from all football
activities in Europe.

UEFA received reports of irregular betting in a Champions League
match against Armenian club Pyunik in 2004.

UEFA’s disciplinary panel issued the verdicts after a seven-hour

The European authority will now ask football’s world governing body
FIFA to ban Zabrcanec and Zdravevski worldwide, though the verdicts
can be appealed.

The panel ruled that the two men fixed the outcome of the qualifying
match in which Pobeda conceded three goals in the first half during
the home leg.

Pobeda drew the second leg 1-1 in Armenia, losing 4-2 on aggregate.

UEFA said when brining the charges that Zabrcanec and Zdravevski were
suspected of "manipulating the outcome… to gain an undue advantage
for themselves and a third party."

UEFA President Michel Platini said last month that match-fixing and
illegal betting was the greatest problem facing European football.

However, while UEFA is steadily building its own investigation unit,
gathering the evidence required to bring a llegedly corrupt clubs
and officials to a hearing has proved difficult.

The Pobeda case is the second time that UEFA has sanctioned a club
for match-fixing, but the first case in which a club official or
player has been found guilty.

Greek club Egaleo FC were fined £28,000 in 2006 for "violation of
the principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship" and "creating
favourable conditions for illegal betting practices."

Egaleo fielded a weakened team at home against Lithuania’s Zalgiris
Vilnius in the first leg of an Intertoto Cup match played in July
2005. They lost the match 3-1 and were knocked out 5-4 on aggregate.

UEFA is still investigating bets made on an Intertoto Cup match
between Bulgarian side Cherno More and Makedonija in July 2007.

The visiting Bulgarians won the first leg 4-0 in Macedonia and went
through 7-0 on aggregate. That case is one of at least 22 suspect
games UEFA has shared with Interpol.

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