Seven charged over illegal betting in Greece

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The Independent Football

Judicial authorities in Greece said seven people have been charged with breaking gambling laws by betting on matches which they knew had been fixed in advance.

The emerging scandal has rattled the professional game in Greece, where the country's Football Association suspended its operations on Monday in a move designed to give authorities a chance to reform the sport.

Seven gamblers were charged with fraud-related offenses, while eight other suspects are being investigated after allegedly making more than €15,000 ($22,000) each from state-controlled football pools, according to judicial officials Monday.

The probe was launched after football's governing body in Europe, UEFA, handed Greek authorities a report citing irregular betting patterns in 2009 and 2010, mostly involving Greek Cup and Division 2 games. Team officials and players are due give testimony later this year.

On Monday, the Greek FA implemented a decision taken by its governing board on Friday to suspend all activities indefinitely, and to seek talks with the government and professional clubs on reforms.

FA chief Sofoklis Pilavios said the move was a response to both repeated cases of fan violence at Greek matches, and to allegations of corruption in the domestic game.

Pilavios said on Friday that Greek football had fallen into the "hands of hooligans, violence, and match-fixers."

The suspension occurred in the Greek off-season, with domestic leagues due to start in late August and the next competitive international not until Sept. 2, a Euro 2012 qualifier in Israel.