Nineteen charged in Czech, Slovak match-fixing case
Slovak Ivan Hodur is seen during a FIFA World Championship 2006 qualification group 3 match between Slovakia and Estonia in Bratislava on October 8, 2005.
"Twelve people have been arrested... in relation to suspected corruption in football, possible match-fixing in different competitions and related punting activities," Czech anti-corruption squad spokesman Jaroslav Ibehej said in a statement.
"Those arrested were subsequently charged with corruption crimes (bribery and accepting a bribe)," he said, adding that 20 others had been summoned for questioning.
Slovak police chief Tibor Gaspar told reporters seven former and current footballers had also been charged in his country.
"Former top-flight players in particular addressed active players on teams and tried to fix the result or the number of goals scored or other options offered by betting companies."
He said the whole operation was led by "an organiser probably from Asia" who placed online bets with Asian betting firms and paid money to middle-men in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
The middle-men would choose a game, speak with selected players and agree on the result.
If the intermediary stayed in the stands 15 minutes into the game -- by which time the betting firms would have displayed the offer -- the players would fix the result, raking in thousands of euros after the game.
If instead the intermediary left, the players knew the game was not on offer and there was no need to fix it, according to Gaspar.
"On the whole, the group spent at least 210,000 euros ($280,000) on the bribes, while the punter earned about 50,000 euros per game," he said.
The group fixed at least 19 games, he added, including top-flight matches of the current season in both countries, plus last season in the Czech Republic.
Police seized 49,000 euros in cash and mobile communication technology during house searches, according to Gaspar.
Slovak broadsheet daily Sme said on its website that Ivan Hodur, capped 12 times for Slovakia in 2002-2006, and three of his teammates from the top-flight side DAC Dunajska Streda had been charged with accepting bribes.
Three former Slovak footballers were also charged with offering bribes.
Czech media reported local top-flight sides FK Teplice and FK Jablonec were involved in the affair.
The Czech Republic and Slovakia formed Czechoslovakia until their peaceful split in 1993.