Wednesday 24 January 2018

Debrecen keeper says he’s innocent in Liverpool match fixing probe

In focus: Debrecen goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic
In focus: Debrecen goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic

Mark Meadows

DEBRECEN goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic has denied attempting to fix his Hungarian side's Champions League match with Liverpool in 2009. The under-fire keeper has claimed that his performance should speak for itself.

European police said this week that about 680 suspicious matches including qualifying games for the World Cup and European Championships, and the Champions League, have been identified in an inquiry.

Media reports said Debrecen's 1-0 defeat at Liverpool was under scrutiny amid allegations of a failed plan to concede more than two goals. However, the club have said the issue had already been looked at and Montenegrin Poleksic has hit out.

"Anyone who watched the match would know what people are saying is bull," the 30-year-old said.

"It was the biggest match of my career and Liverpool have always been my favourite club. I can't believe what people have said about me. But I don't care because I know I am clean."

Poleksic was given a two-year ban in 2010 for failing to report approaches from alleged fixers ahead of another Champions League match with Italian side Fiorentina. Debrecen said yesterday that the Liverpool game was also probed in that case.

Debrecen said the keeper, who returned to action this season, was punished for not informing authorities of an approach from fixers but was innocent of having manipulated any matches because he rejected the bribery requests.

The case came before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in 2011 when Poleksic's team mate Norbert Meszaros, who played against both Liverpool and Fiorentina, had his own 18-month ban for the same offence overturned.

"I was just delighted to be playing at Anfield. It was a great night for me and my club and we played well," Poleksic added.

Liverpool, who are not under suspicion, said they had not heard from European anti-crime body Europol regarding the match.

Last month, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said no games in Europe's Champions League had been fixed.

The Europol announcement about a widespread global match-fixing ring being run from Singapore shocked much of the game. However, others said a lot of the revelations were old news with many matches already having been investigated by authorities.

The fix ringleaders are well-known to police, experts said.

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