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Tebas testifies in Zaragoza—Levante match fixing trial

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Lots of interesting details came out here.

Soccerex Europe - Day 1 Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

You might not have noticed, given the slow pace of such things, but there is a trial going on in Spain involving a number of past La Liga players, accused of match-fixing. The match in question was the last one of the 2010-11 season, when Levante, already safe and playing at home, faced a Real Zaragoza side needing a win to stay up. The match finished 2-1 to Zaragoza—you can see the highlights here.

Of course, it is not unusual for teams with meaningless end-of-season matches to tank a bit, which is why they often receive extra incentive with “gifts” (the infamous suitcase containing Spanish hams and the like). But that is different from a fix being on, which is what is alleged here.

Javier Tebas, league president, testified today in Valencia and had some interesting points to make:

(1) Deportivo president Lendoiro received a communication from Sergio (then playing for Levante after 10 years at Depor, now coach of Real Valladolid) in the week before the game, asserting the match was being fixed. Tebas said he called the Levante president, Quico Catalan, to warn him against anything like this. Quico Catalan, for his part, says he doesn’t remember any such call and would have warned the club captains if he had such a warning.

(2) Tebas ended up filing an anonymous complaint (in March 2013!) because of three interventions:

first, Lendoiro was convinced of the truth of the matter (and it was Depor who were relegated, after they lost 2-0 to Valencia at home);

second, an anonymous Zaragoza player approached Tebas, told him the game had been fixed, but asked Tebas to report the matter because if he (the player) did, he would be ostracized and would never play in the league again;

third—and this is where Villarreal comes into it, tangentially—Javi Venta, who played for Levante from 2010-12, apparently, after joining Villarreal for the 2012-13 season, told Sr. Roig (and possibly his son, Sr. Roig Negueroles) that the match had been fixed. Sr. Roig Negueroles contacted Tebas—and it is possible a couple of others did too.

Here’s the list of who played in the match; if I had to guess, I would think Ike Uche or Ander Herrera would be good candidates for the player who tipped Tebas off. At any rate, Sr. Roig Negueroles was scheduled to give his deposition today too, but because of the inclement weather, he’s giving his testimony next week.

The trial continues.