UEFA played down talk of irregular
betting patterns on Thursday after Olympique Lyon's lopsided 7-1
victory against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League the
previous night had raised suspicions of foul play.
A statement from the European governing body said nothing
untoward had been detected from Wednesday's Champions League
Group D fixtures, including Real Madrid's 3-0 victory away to
Dutch side Ajax Amsterdam.
Lyon, who had scored only twice in their previous five
Champions League games, hit the net seven times in 30 minutes
against 10-man Dinamo after going a goal behind, upsetting the
odds to leapfrog Ajax and finish second in the group to reach
the knockout rounds.
Croatian champions Dinamo said any suspicion was "shameful
and malicious" and UEFA said nothing in Wednesday's results, or
the betting patterns around the matches, merited an inquiry.
UEFA President Michel Platini said he had absolute faith in
the integrity of the players.
"Personally, I have no doubt whatsoever about the integrity
of the players in this competition," he told reporters after a
meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee in Venice.
"When I was a player with Saint-Etienne, there was a game where
we needed to score seven goals to have a chance of winning the
title and we did it, but our rivals won their game 1-0 so it was
UEFA, which uses a betting fraud detection system, said:
"For the time being this system has not shown any irregular
betting patterns around yesterday's games or their outcome that
would justify any inquiry on that front."
UEFA said it had taken note of the widespread media coverage
surrounding the games, adding: "UEFA considers the integrity of
its own competitions, including the UEFA Champions League, as an
absolute priority and pays extra attention to all games.
"We have also implemented a Betting Fraud Detections System
(BFDS) as a tool against match-fixing - a system which monitors
29,000 games a season including all UEFA matches - and utilises
data from more than 400 betting companies."
However, the statement added that UEFA could still act if
the match officials felt something suspicious had happened.
"We are currently waiting to receive the reports of the
referee, referee observer and match delegate to see if, in their
opinion, something suspicious might have happened.
"If there is anything in these reports that could raise a
doubt, UEFA may then charge a disciplinary inspector to
investigate the matter. But there is nothing at this stage that
would justify doing so."
The French online betting authority (ARJEL) also issued a
statement saying it had not detected anything untoward.
"No irregularity has been detected concerning the total
amount of stakes or the number of bets," it said.
Before Wednesday's matches, Real had already qualified for
the last 16 with 15 points from their first five games, Ajax
were second with eight points and a plus-two goal difference and
Lyon third on five points with a minus-four goal difference.
As both games between Lyon and Ajax had ended 0-0, that
meant, if Lyon won and Ajax lost, the two would both finish on
eight points and overall goal difference would be the first
criterion to determine who would qualify in second place.
Lyon needed a huge goal swing of seven to oust Ajax from
second place, which is what happened. Their 7-1 win meant they
finished with a goal difference of plus-two, while Ajax's
plus-three difference was wiped out by their 3-0 loss to Real.
Dinamo reacted angrily to suggestions that the game could
have been fixed.
"It is tendentious, shameful and malicious to have doubts
about the regularity of the game in Zagreb and thus belittle
Lyon's success," the Croatian champions said in a statement.
"It was a shameful result for Dinamo and we have already
resorted to certain sanctions in the club," they added,
referring to the immediate sacking of Dinamo coach Krunoslav
"We strongly denounce allegations in the local and foreign
media about match-fixing. If it continues, we will consider all
legal means to protect our rights."
Earlier on Thursday, Ajax coach Frank de Boer said he did
not believe an investigation into Lyon's win at Zagreb would
find evidence of match-fixing.
"On this stage a 7-1 away win is an exception. Maybe I'm
naive when I think it normally doesn't work like this, but if
Zagreb gave the match away they should be punished," De Boer
said after a night that consigned Ajax to the Europa League.
"But I think it is hard to find any evidence in this case."
Central defender fit enough to play in the Champions League final at Wembley
Bayern Munich unfazed by the need to be more clinical in attack against Borussia Dortmund
Ruud Gullit believes Bayern Munich are in for a shock when they take on Borussia Dortmund
Napoli president denies reports that he has named Rafael Benitez as club's new manager
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010