It has been reported today that a football match fixing ring has been exposed in Spain following extensive investigations that are still ongoing.
The ring, which has been uncovered as part of a police operation working with UEFA, The Union of European Football Associations, the administrative body for association football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, includes a string of football matches over the last five years.
A Spanish media corporation reported:
“The plot had also started acting abroad. The wiretaps made it possible to discover that the leaders of the group had a contact in Cyprus that provided them with data on rigged parties in that country. That is the part that interests UEFA. The network’s link was Jorge Larena, a former player of Atlético de Madrid (2001-2006) who, in the summer of 2015, signed for one of the great Cypriot teams, AEK Larnaca, the most important club in the city where the car exploded bomb on January 17. Larena remained on the squad of this team until July 2019, when he hung up his cleats.”
Jorge Larena is a Spanish professional footballer who played 193 La Liga matches over seven seasons and spent five years in the Cypriot First Division at the service of AEK Larnaca; a Cypriot professional football club from Larnaca, Cyprus.
The Spanish gambling regulator, Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling, which has been working closely with authorities commented:
“What has been discovered goes beyond simple players leaving goals to win some money with bets. What is in Cyprus is an institutional corruption, at the highest level, in which clubs, referees and even official bodies that distribute victories, complete tournaments and classifications to compete in European competitions, and then move large amounts of money to the bookmakers to make those actions profitable.”
Until the year 2012, gambling and betting in Cyprus was not regulated to the extensive nature that it is today. The nation introduced the Betting Law 2012 along with a National Betting Authority to oversee all gambling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean island country responsible for licensing, auditing and supervising betting establishments and online betting providers.