Depor president says match-fixing rife in Spain

MADRID Thu May 9, 2013 12:45pm BST

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MADRID (Reuters) - The long-term president of Deportivo La Coruna, Augusto Cesar Lendoiro, has suggested match-fixing is widespread in La Liga while denying his own club is involved.

Lendoiro, president of the Galician club since 1988, told reporters at a Europa Press event in Madrid on Thursday a host of decisive games towards the end of the season had been thrown as a matter of course.

"Almost all the final matches of the season have been fixed in one way or another," Lendoiro said.

He blamed Depor's relegation in 2010-11 on match-fixing and said it was widely known that clubs were being paid to throw games to help others avoid the drop to the second division.

"Let all football fans be absolutely clear, Deportivo has never taken part - I will put my neck on the line for the players and the board of directors - in this kind of match-fixing," Lendoiro added.

Corruption is firmly entrenched across the political, business and sporting spheres in Spain and it has long been suspected that money changes hands between football clubs in the final weeks of the La Liga campaign.

Javier Tebas, the new president of the professional league (LFP) elected last month, told Thursday's Europa Press event it was a problem that only involved "a minority" of one percent of clubs but it had to be stamped out.

"It is a cancer that must be eradicated and it has the same effect," Tebas said.

"If you don't take immediate action it will spread and turn into metastasis and will destroy our sport."

The issue of match-fixing was catapulted into the headlines in February when investigators said they had uncovered evidence that hundreds of matches at club and national level had been fixed around the globe in a betting scam run from Singapore.

(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Ed Osmond)

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