November 28, 2018 / 12:21 PM / 16 days ago

Ex-Premier League player Etuhu starts match-fixing trial

FILE PHOTO: Nigeria's Dickson Etuhu controls the ball during an Africa Nations Cup quarter finals match against Zambia in Lubango, January 25, 2010. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly/File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Former Premier League soccer player Dickson Etuhu goes on trial in a Swedish court on Thursday to face a charge of match-fixing, which he denies.

Etuhu played at the 2010 World Cup for Nigeria and had a lengthy career in England for Manchester City, Preston North End, Norwich, Sunderland, Fulham and Blackburn Rovers before moving to play in Sweden.

He is charged with trying to bribe a goalkeeper to fix the result of a league match between his former side, Stockholm’s AIK, and IFK Gothenburg.

The game was due to be played on May 18, 2017 but was postponed after goalkeeper Kenny Stamatopoulos told AIK he had been approached by Etuhu and another man with a view to fixing the game, according to the 473-page pre-trial protocol seen by Reuters.

Etuhu has said his former team-mate must have misunderstood the conversation.

“I respect everyone’s opinion, but the facts remain the same - it never happened ... It’s unbelievable that an ordinary conversation with a friend can lead to something like this,” Etuhu told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

The offence of gross bribery carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison.

Etuhu, 36, and his lawyer Johan Akermark both declined to comment ahead of the trial, being held at the Stockholm District Court.

Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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