Swansea manager Michael Laudrup clarifies match-fixing comments

 

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has denied advocating clubs paying their rivals to win matches.

Laudrup was questioned about his views on match fixing during his press conference previewing Saturday's Premier League fixture against Everton.

The Dane clearly stated his opposition to the offence, but felt hypothetically that paying clubs to lose games was worse than paying clubs to win games as the natural goal of any side would be to secure victory.

Laudrup said yesterday: "If Swansea play the last game against a team, and a third team pays Swansea to win the game, I really don't see anything bad about that."

He added: "It's just a bonus. For me, match-fixing is somebody pays someone to lose a game.

"In Spain where there's one or two matches left in a season we always talked about the suitcases.

"But the suitcases is to win - I don't see anything bad about that.

"I think we have to define very well what is match-fixing because there's different levels, I think."

But today Laudrup strongly denied condoning any form of match-fixing and believes his comments were taken out of context.

In a statement released to Press Association Sport, he said: "I am well aware that it is against the rules to accept or receive money to influence the outcome of a football match. I am in full support of these match-fixing rules and certainly do not advocate any payments of any kind.

"The point I was trying to make was that the term match-fixing needs to be defined because there are different levels.

"If two teams playing each other both needed a draw and the scores are level with 20 minutes to go, then I wouldn't expect either team to throw men forward looking for the winner. That to me is not match-fixing.

"The worst case of match-fixing I heard was in Italy in the early 80s, before I went there, when three or four players were paid to lose a game. Can you imagine what the other players felt when they got to know about that after they went out to win?

"People like that should be banned for life, not a few years. They should be out of the game forever.

"The other point I was trying to make regarding defining the word match-fixing, and which was hypothetical and perhaps taken out of context in relation to the whole interview, was that if someone wanted to pay us to win, then fine, because we go out to win every game anyway. That's what I meant by a bonus."

Accepting money to influence the outcome of games is against Premier League and Football Association rules.

Laudrup was asked about the subject having played for Juventus and Lazio in the 1980s, with Italian football having been hit by several match-fixing scandals over the last 35 years.

Up to 30 clubs in the Italian football pyramid were implicated in the current match-fixing scandal.

The most high-profile figure involved is Juventus coach Antonio Conte, who was given a 10-month suspension in August for not reporting alleged match-fixing in two games involving his former club Siena, although he denies the charges and is appealing.

PA

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