Segers told lies to save football career

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The former Wimbledon goalkeeper, Hans Segers, yesterday admitted having cheated and lied, but insisted he had never thrown a football match.

The former player, accused of being part of a plot to rig Premier League games, told Winchester Crown Court that he had lied to his wife and the police and had cheated the taxman. But he denied "throwing" any matches including his side's game at Everton in May 1994, when the Merseyside team won 3-2 to stay in top flight football.

Dutch-born Mr Segers, 35, the former Wimbledon and Aston Villa striker, John Fashanu, 34, the former Southampton and Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar, 39, and a Malaysian businessman Heng Suan Lim, 31, all deny conspiracy to give and accept corrupt payments. All four also deny being part of an alleged plot to influence the outcome of matches for the benefit of a Far East betting syndicate.

Throughout a day in the witness box, Mr Segers repeatedly said he had never thrown a match, or been asked to. At one point he was in tears as he explained why he had lied to police when interviewed after his arrest, saying that he had been concerned he had been breaking Football Association rules by forecasting match results for Mr Lim. Mr Segers has told the court he was forecasting Dutch matches and helping with information on some English matches for Mr Lim, who passed tips to a wealthy Indonesian benefactor who liked betting on games.

"I thought everything was going to be taken away from me, my livelihood," Mr Segers said. "Football was everything I had got. I wake up with football and go to bed with football."

That was why he had lied. Mr Segers agreed with David Calvert Smith, for the prosecution, that he had lied to his wife, Astrid, in the early 1990s.

The court has heard that there was an article in a newspaper at that time exposing a sexual relationship Mr Segers was having. He said his wife gave him an ultimatum that if it happened again he would be packing his suitcase. Mr Calvert Smith said: "Having been shown a yellow card by your wife, you offended again? You had an affair with somebody else?" Mr Segers replied: "Yes, I did." He agreed that he had to tell lies about where he was, and get people to cover for him and he covered for Mr Fashanu when he had similar problems.

When asked if he had deliberately failed to declare how much he was earning to the Inland Revenue, Mr Segers replied: "It was just very foolish of me."

Asked how much income he failed to declare, Mr Segers said: "It's difficult to say."

Mr Segers has told the court that some of the money he paid into a Swiss bank account was profits from a tie business, given to him in cash by his Dutch-based partner to save United Kingdom tax.

The Crown claims it has linked payments of pounds 104,000 into the account to Wimbledon matches allegedly targeted by the syndicate.

Mr Segers also confirmed he had made up stories when interviewed by police, such as that he did not know Mr Lim, hardly ever spoke to Fashanu and that money in the account came partly from car crime in The Netherlands as a teenager.

The case continues today.