Keeper denied fixing matches

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The Independent Online
Bruce Grobbelaar told reporters investigating the alleged fixing of football matches he had "never tried to throw a game" in his life, a court was told yesterday.

The jury at Winchester Crown Court saw a video recording of the former Liverpool and Southampton goalkeeper meeting journalists from the Sun newspaper at Gatwick airport in November 1994 as he was about to fly to Zimbabwe.

This followed a "sting" operation against Mr Grobbelaar mounted by his former friend and business associate Christopher Vincent and the newspaper in which meetings between the two men, when Mr Grobbelaar allegedly accepted pounds 2,000on behalf of a bogus betting syndicate, were secretly filmed.

During the Gatwick meeting the keeper was told by two reporters that over the previous two weeks they had compiled "irrefutable evidence" that he had received 40,000 for throwing a Premier League match.

A reporter accused Mr Grobbelaar of receiving money from a syndicate through a middle man - the Short Man - for letting in goals. He was told: "You actually talk about the things you've done, the way you've tried to throw games." He replied: "I've never tried to throw a game in my life."

He was asked: "Are you denying it all, then?" He replied: "Yes, I'm totally denying it."

Mr Grobbelaar, 39, former Aston Villa and Wimbledon striker John Fashanu, 34, the former Wimbledon keeper Hans Segers, 35, and Malaysian businessman Heng Suan Lim, 31, deny conspiracy to give and accept corrupt payments to influence the outcome of football matches. Mr Grobbelaar also denies a further charge of accepting pounds 2,000 from Mr Vincent for improperly influencing or attempting to influence the outcome of matches.

The trial resumes next week.