News 8 December 2015

Ukrainian club expels 11 youth players for match-fixing

Ukrainian club Zorya Luhansk has expelled eleven youth players from its team for match-fixing. Sergey Rafailov, the Premier League club’s Director General, said that the players heads were turned by a criminal gang. “In Ukrainian football there is a disease that, as far as I know, has struck almost all the Premier League’s youth teams”, he told the club’s internet site, which named the 11 involved. “This is a huge criminal gang that pulled in our young players, who at first did not understand what they were doing”.

Rafailov said that the results of the club’s investigation would soon be made public. “I think it will be a shock”, he said. The club found that people were present at the youth games to give signals to assist the manipulators, which sought not necessarily to fix the result of the game, but the number of goals or corners. Rafailov said that the players had alleged that Ihor Kalinin, who plays in the club’s first team, is the ringleader.

On 3 November, the Ukraine passed a new Act to make the manipulation of sporting competitions a criminal offence. The Bill was put forward by Andrei Pavelko, currently interim President of the football federation of the Ukraine (FFU) and who is keen to halt match-fixing. In July, the FFU investigated FC Olimpik following allegations of match-fixing, however it appears that the problem was widespread, as reported in this article.

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