Former Southampton players rubbish spot-fixing claims of Claus Lundekvam

 

Claus Lundekvam's former Southampton team-mates have lined up to distance themselves from the player's claims of spot-fixing during his time at the club.

Lundekvam, who played for Southampton between 1996 and 2008 and went on to captain the team, told Norwegian radio station NRK that he, fellow players and opposition captains regularly made money by betting on and influencing in-game events such as first throw-in or first corner.

His claims yesterday raised the interest of world governing body FIFA, who began gathering information on the matter.

Today, though, many of Lundekvam's Saints colleagues have denied involvement in any such schemes.

Matthew Le Tissier, who did admit to one isolated incident of attempted spot-fixing in his autobiography, Tweeted: "Aside from that one incident in my book I've never been involved in any betting scams and have no idea of Claus Lundekvam's claims."

Francis Benali, who preceded Lundekvam as Saints skipper, was even more forceful.

"I can say categorically I have no knowledge of the betting allegations made by Claus. Dressing rooms are very tight environments and if something was widespread, even if you weren't part of it, you would hear it being discussed and talked about," he told BBC Radio Solent.

Referring to Lundekvam's previous revelations about battling alcohol and drug problems, he added: "It is widely known Claus has had quite a few personal problems in recent times and I wonder if that is why he has come out with this story. The way it has come across, it's like all of us were at it and all in on the betting scam and everyone had knowledge of it. That wasn't the case.

"No club wants a story like this associated with them, nor do the city or the players involved at the time. It's a smear on your character and not nice, especially when it's not true."

Ex-Southampton defender Paul Williams, meanwhile, told the Daily Mail: "I sat next to Claus in the dressing room and was his partner at centre-half. I can't speak about what happened before I arrived but nothing untoward happened that I was aware of while I was there."

Former manager Dave Jones, who was at the helm between 1997 and 2000, echoed those sentiments.

"I know nothing about what Claus has said," he said.

"I never heard anything like that discussed in the dressing room either. I'm sure I would have heard the tiniest whispers if it had been anything like a common occurrence."

PA

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