Croatian football head Suker denies involvement in fixing scandal
Croatia Football Federation (HNS) head Davor Suker strongly denied on Tuesday the reports linking him to one of Europe’s biggest match-fixing scandals.football Updated: Jul 01, 2015 19:15 IST
Croatia Football Federation (HNS) head Davor Suker strongly denied on Tuesday the reports linking him to one of Europe’s biggest match-fixing scandals.
“I was never in my life involved in any activity aimed at setting up or influencing the result of a football match,” Suker, also a member of Uefa’s executive committee, said in a statement.
“Both HNS and myself are firmly committed to fight that horrible disease of match fixing.”
Suker’s denial followed German media reports implicating him with Ante Sapina, a German of Croatian origin and the key figure in the 2009 scandal that rocked European football.
According to German broadcaster ARB, German prosecutors from Bochum had evidence — consisting of text messages and intercepted phone conversations — that Suker was in contact with Sapina on several occasions in 2009.
Sapina allegedly advised Suker on how to bet at least once in the Champions League and twice in the European League.
In 2011, Sapina was sentenced to five-and-a-half years by a Bochum court having been the leader of a gang which had bribed players and officials in matches across Europe to influence results which they then bet heavily on.
During a six-month trial, Sapina and members of his gang confessed to influencing around 50 matches across Europe.
On Tuesday, Suker stressed he was “never questioned by any competent body regarding the alleged relation with Sapina” and another betting fraudster. Recalling that the German prosecutors were probing match-fixing affairs for the past seven years, Suker added that they had never questioned him.
Suker is Croatia’s record goalscorer, having scored 45 goals in 69 international appearances.
He was the top scorer at the 1998 World Cup, where Croatia finished third, and represented clubs like Real Madrid and Arsenal.