An investigation has found up to seven players and a criminal gang guilty of match fixing during a game between Valladolid and Valencia, with a number of matches investigated during the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons.
The match between two-goal win over Valladolid landed Valencia a spot in the Champions League for the next season. However, both goals in the tie came as a result of defensive errors from Valladolid players.
A La Liga spokesperson commented on the matter: “The police action follows complaints about possible match-fixing in a May 2018 match from La Liga to the Spanish authorities.
“During the 2018/19 season La Liga has filed eight complaints with the general commissioner of the judicial police for alleged acts related to match-fixing in lower divisions of Spanish football and international friendlies played in Spain.”
The statement continued: “We have also sent alerts to the general directorate of gaming on 18 football matches for possible identification and sanction of players from lower divisions who could have bet on their competition.
“We thank the police for the extraordinary work done to dismantle what appears to be an organised criminal group dedicated to obtaining economic benefits through the predetermination of football matches.
“This police operation demonstrates the effectiveness of integrity protection systems implemented by La Liga to protect the cleanliness of all competitions in Spanish football.
“La Liga continues to fight to eradicate any scourge against fair play in Spanish football.”
According to a report by El Mundo, police were able to sanction a wire tap to investigate the matter further. The wire tap allegedly recorded Carlos Aranda stating: “Look brother, Valencia wins the first half and the second, okay?
“Listen to me, they win the first half and the second, they win the game…look, you know what it is, nobody can find out. Nobody is nobody, nobody, no your friends, or anyone.”
According to El Mundo, he goes onto say: “No one can find out about this and no one means no one, eh. Not your friends, no one.”
The recent arrests follow a spate of investigations across the country into match fixing and involvement in criminal organisations among footballers, according to Spanish newspaper El País.
Among the players involved were Getafe’s Samuel Saiz, who spent last season on loan at English Championship side Leeds United. Former Real Madrid player Raul Bravo, Real Valladolid’s Borja Fernandez and Deportivo de La Coruna’s Inigo Lopez Montana are also all under investigation.