Oslo, Norway: FIFA is investigating claims of spot-fixing in Premier League matches after former Southampton captain Claus Lundekvam said he and many others earned "lots of money" from the practice when the Norwegian played for the club in 1996-2008.
FIFA said in a brief statement on Wednesday that its chief investigator in England was involved in monitoring the case.
Lundekvam told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that several players and staff in the team bet hundreds of pounds on things like who would take the first throw-in, corner, or penalty - "things we could easily influence." He said they never influenced the result of a match, but that spot-fixing "was accepted in those years in England at the end of the 90`s and beginning of the 2000s."
Lundekvam`s claims were aired Monday after he commented on match-fixing suspicions in the Norwegian first division, following the weekend cancellation of a local game by the national football association.
The 39-year-old Lundekvam said that in many cases everyone within the team, including coaches, knew about the fixing and that club staff often placed the bets so that it would not raise suspicions about the players.
"It`s not something I`m proud of having been part of, but we were absolutely not alone about this although that doesn`t make it any better," he told NRK.
He said gambling and betting was part of the lifestyle among many Premier League players.
"We live in a bubble as football players, as pros, and we play around the clock when we are together. We play cards on the bus, on the Internet, everywhere we go," Lundekvam said. "So, it`s a part of a lifestyle with a little adrenalin and excitement ... so what we could gamble on, we did."
In another development Wednesday, Norwegian financial daily Dagens Naeringsliv reported that Valerenga`s former coach Martin Andresen placed a winning bet on Sevilla losing a match in 2000 in the Spanish League after the team`s goalkeeper Frode Olsen - also a Norwegian - told him they would lose to Oviedo to complicate matters for rival Real Betis. Sevilla, which was already relegated, lost 3-2, helping send Betis down to the second division.
Olsen told the paper that he had informed Andresen and two other people of that likely outcome.
Andresen currently plays for Follo, one of at least two teams suspected of match-fixing in the Norwegian league.
Earlier this week, the Norwegian Football Association asked police to investigate several suspicious match results and cancelled a first division game at the weekend because of fears of match-fixing.
Police on Tuesday said they had no suspects and have appealed to the public to come forward with any information.