Liverpool’s 2009 CL match under investigation for match-fixing

Updated: Feb 05, 2013, 12:46 PM IST

London: Liverpool’s Champions League match with the Hungarian champions Debrecen in 2009 has surfaced as the English game recognised by police as being caught up in a betting scandal that has shocked the football world.

Europol director Rob Wainwright, who had announced a Champions League game played in England in the last three or four years was among 680 matches worldwide that were fixed, had refused to name the match because of continuing judicial proceedings.

However, it has emerged on Monday that the Anfield club’s game with the Debrecen in the opening group stage match in 2009 was the fixture Europol believe was the subject of the match-fixers, it reported.

Reports in Denmark allege that Debrecen were approached to concede more than 2.5 goals by the Singapore-based gambling syndicate, whose tentacles spread into 30 countries across the globe, the paper said.

Despite having 58 per cent of possession, though, and nine shots on target, Liverpool only won 1-0, courtesy of Dirk Kuyt’s goal when Debrecen’s Montenegrin goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic spilled a routine shot by ­Fernando Torres.

A few weeks later, Poleksic’s performance in a 4-3 defeat by Fiorentina was also probed. According to the reports, German investigators conducted wiretaps of telephone conversations between alleged bribers, which found evidence that Poleksic, had been approached.

In June 2010, UEFA banned Poleksic and his team-mate, Hungarian defender Meszaros Norbert, from ­football for two years for failing to report an attempt at match-fixing even though police could find no evidence that the goalie had actually fixed any matches.

Both appealed to the Court of ­Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, but while Norbert’s case was accepted and his ban rescinded, the tribunal ruled against Poleksic.

An Anfield spokesman claimed there has been no enquiry from any agency, and he said nobody from Europol has contacted anyone at Liverpool FC.