London, Feb 6(ANI): Burkina Faso head coach Paul Put, who served a three-year ban in Belgium that expired in 2011 after being found guilty of fixing two matches while manager of Lierse, has claimed corruption has always existed in football following Europol's announcement that up to 380 European football matches are under suspicion of being fixed.
Put remains adamant he was just a scapegoat and that the practice is widespread, the Guardian reports.
Put said match fixing has always existed in football, and he quoted banned cyclist lance Armstrong's example to prove his innocence.
Put added if you look at cycling, at Armstrong, it's always him who is pointed at but everybody was taking drugs, adding it's not that he has been doing match-fixing, not at all, but it has been declared in the media like this.
The African team's coach said he also played football and he saw a lot of things, adding he doesn't think anyone can change it.
Put said it's unfortunate but he thinks in every sport you have to face these kind of corrupt things.
What is known is that Lierse twice unexpectedly fielded reserve teams in Belgian top-flight league matches in 2005, seemingly as part of a match-fixing ring allegedly organised by the Chinese businessman Ye Zheyun, the paper reported.
An international arrest warrant was issued against Ye in 2006 but he returned to China and denies all charges, it added.
Lierse were the only club sanctioned and Put the only individual. Forty people, including Put, have been charged and face a criminal trial but that is unlikely to come to court for at least another two years. (ANI)