Under suspicion: Liverpool match against Debrecen 'targeted by fixers'

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Champions League game with Debrecen in 2009 alleged to be one of 700 which concern Euro investigation

The head of Europol has urged football authorities in Britain not to be “naïve” or “complacent” enough to believe the problem of match-fixing does not extend to games in this country as a Liverpool match was last night alleged to have involved an attempted fix.

Yesterday Europol revealed the outcome of a concentrated 18-month investigation into match-fixing in Europe that has thrown up nearly 700 games around the world that have aroused suspicions of fixing, including one Champions League fixture played in England "three or four years ago."

A Danish newspaper, Ekstra Bladet, last night named Liverpool's 2009 home group game against Debrecen as the match in question. There is no suggestion the Anfield club had any involvement or are suspected of any wrong doing. The report claims the Hungarian side's goalkeeper, the Montenegrin Vukasin Poleksic, was bribed "to ensure the match ended with at least three goals." The game, at Anfield on 16 September, finished 1-0 to the home side, Dirk Kuyt scoring the winner.

Poleksic was again the recipient of an alleged bribe for a match against Fiorentina later in the group stage. That match has been the focus of a previous investigation by German authorities. In June 2010 Poleksic was banned for two years for failing to report an approach by match fixers.

It is the first time a high-level match played in England has come under suspicion during modern-day investigations into this widening threat to the game. Matches at the top level in this country were previously presumed to be immune to fixing.

Authorities have refused to release further details of the match, claiming it is an on-going investigation, but Rob Wainwright, a Briton who has led Europol for four years, believes it must act as a warning to England, and the rest of Europe's elite leagues, that they too are under threat.

He said: "It is clear that the focus of this investigation has been in other countries, not the United Kingdom. However, we are surprised generally by the scale of the criminal enterprise involved and how widespread it is. I think it would be naive and indeed complacent of those in the United Kingdom to think that such a criminal conspiracy does not also threaten certain issues connected with the English game and indeed all parts of football in Europe.

"The decision we took to initiate an international investigation amongst the members reflected the growing concern, indeed the growing intelligence, that we were seeing that this was a much bigger, wider problem than those first cases had suggested."

Europol's investigation, Operation Veto, says 425 match officials, club officials, players and "serious criminals" are suspected of involvement. Six of them are resident in the UK. There are 380 matches in Europe and 300 elsewhere in the world that have been investigated or are part of ongoing inquiries.

Wainwright is to write to Michel Platini, president of Uefa, to inform him of the details of Europol's investigation. Fifa and Uefa have acknowledged the threat of fixing in recent months, as have other sports.

"This is a significant threat to the integrity of football," said Wainwright. "We need the national football associations to see this the same way. I do think from our experience of fighting organised crime that we require a concerted action across the community, not just police officers and those running the game, but betting operators, the public, the media. It has to be a concerted action so we can fight back. This is a problem in world football."

Uefa said it was aware of the allegations and promised a "zero tolerance" response. The governing body said: "As part of the fight against the manipulation of matches, Uefa is already cooperating with the authorities on these serious matters. Once the details are in Uefa's hands, then they will be reviewed... in order that the necessary measures are taken."

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
News
Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives his annual televised question-and-answer session
peopleBizarre TV claim
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Life & Style
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit