Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
A Swedish court released a 24-year old footballer charged with match-fixing on 22 October, as a conviction for the criminal offence of bribery requires money to have been offered directly. The man was one of several accused of offering money to three players from IFK Värnamo to lose a Superettan (second division) match against GAIS, a Gothenburg club.
‘The District Court considers it proven that the 24-year old contacted the players in order to induce them to participate in a fixed match’, read a statement from the Jönköping District Court. ‘According to the players, the 24-year old did not make an offer of money or another benefit when the game was discussed. The deal only came a few days later when the players were approached by two unknown men who, in a more threatening way, tried to get them to take part in a fixed match. At this time, the 24-year old was not present. The Court finds that the criminal offence of bribery requires the provision of an offer of payment, or other undue advantage to the employee (player) to influence him to offer his service. The 24-year old made no such offer to the players and the indictment against him should be dismissed and he should be acquitted of charges of bribery.’ An appeal is possible to the Göta Court of Appeal by 12 November.
According to the indictment, the 24-year old attempted to bribe the three IFK Värnamo players in September 2013 before a Swedish Superettan game against GAIS. According to the three IFK Värnamo players, a meeting took place in a parking lot where the accused attempted to persuade them to fix the match so IFK Värnamo would lose. The 24-year old has consistently denied that he ever met the players in the parking lot, and argues that he made no attempt to bribe them.
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