Match-fixing mastermind sent to prison for five years

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The Independent Football

A German court yesterday convicted three men of fraud for their part in the most serious match-fixing scandal to hit European football. A World Cup qualifier and a Champions League qualifier were among more than 20 games fixed by Ante Sapina, a Croat who was sentenced to five and a half years in prison.

It is the second conviction that Sapina has received for match-fixing. His co-defendants, a Croat and a Slovene, also received custodial sentences. Sapina was the mastermind behind the manipulation of a 2010 World Cup qualifier between Liechtenstein and Finland in September 2009 when the referee was bribed with ¤40,000 (£35,000) to ensure two goals in the second half.

A Champions League qualifier between Debrecen of Hungary and Fiorentina of Italy, several Europa League matches and domestic league games in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Turkey, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia were also fixed.