The Hague, Feb 4 (IANS) Over 380 international football matches in 15 countries are suspected to have been fixed, the European investigative organisation Europol announced here Monday.
The suspected matches cover the Champions League, European Championship and World Cup qualifiers and matches from several European top leagues. It took Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency that handles criminal intelligence, 18 months to complete the first cross-border investigation into match-fixing in European football, reports Xinhua.
"This is the work of an Asian crime syndicate that works with criminal networks in Europe," said Rob Wainwright, director of Europol, at a press conference.
"It is clear that this is the biggest match-fixing case ever in Europe. We have exposed a great integrity problem in football," Wainwright added.
A total of eight million euros ($10.8 million) would have been the gain of the match fixing, involving a total of 425 referees, players and criminals. The biggest amount cashed by a single criminal was 140,000 euros. The researchers fear that the results are just a small part of the total scale of match fixing.
Europol have not mentioned any events or names yet, but unveiled formal charges against those involved. The research also concerns countries and regions outside Europe.
The results of the investigation will be handed to European football association president Michel Platini shortly.
This was the first cross-border investigation into match-fixing in European football.