6-year bans sought for 36 players for match-fixing in Spain

MADRID — Spanish prosecutors are seeking two-year prison sentences and six-year soccer bans for 36 players accused of match-fixing in the Spanish league seven years ago.

Former Mexico coach Javier Aguirre is facing the same sentence if found guilty in the case involving clubs Levante and Zaragoza at the end of the 2010-11 season, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Among the players accused are: Ander Herrera, now with Manchester United; Vicente Iborra of Leicester; Atletico Madrid captain Gabi Fernandez; and River Plate captain Leonardo Ponzio.

A total of 41 people were accused, including former club officials.

Spanish daily Marca said the six-year bans from soccer would be valid outside of Spain as well.

However, it's unlikely those being accused would face actual prison time if found guilty because sentences of two years or less for first-time offenders are often suspended in Spain.

Those involved have denied wrongdoing.

Prosecutors cited evidence that Zaragoza paid 965,000 euros ($1.1 million) to Levante's players to lose a match to Zaragoza.

Zaragoza's 2-1 victory in the final round of the season allowed the team to avoid relegation.

A lower court had shelved the case but it was reopened last month after an appeal by prosecutors in Valencia, where the match was played.

Prosecutors are seeking charges of sports corruption, and document forgery against some of Zaragoza's officials at the time.

Eighteen players from each team were accused, including: Felipe Caicedo of Lazio, Christian Stuani of Girona and Nicolas Bertolo of Banfield.

Ponzio said Tuesday in Argentina that his lawyers had not been notified of any recent developments in the case.

Ponzio, Fernandez, Bertolo and Herrera played for Zaragoza at the time. Iborra, Caicedo and Stuani were with Levante.

Prosecutors said the money that was allegedly given to Levante players was divided among the squad. Prosecutors contend all players in both teams were aware of the fix.

Prosecutors said they found evidence that the money was transferred to Levante players after analyzing tax reports and banking transactions at the time.

Spanish league president Javier Tebas first denounced the case in 2013 after a suspicion was brought up to him by another club's president.

Tebas and many of the players were interrogated by authorities in recent years.


More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga


Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

You may also like these

Jedinak stars as Australia qualifies for 2018...

Nov 15, 2017

Mile Jedinak stepped up when it counted most, propelling Australia into next year's World Cup with...

At 3rd big tourney in a row, Belgium should start...

Sep 4, 2017

Belgium is going to a major tournament for the third straight time and it should start to live up...

Belgium has scandal brewing over rapper's World...

Mar 8, 2018

The Belgian football federation says it will not change its mind about choosing a rapper known for...

Lukaku scores 2 as Belgium beats Saudi Arabia 4-0

Mar 27, 2018

Lukaku scores 2 as Belgium beats Saudi Arabia 4-0 in friendly

FIFA confirms ethics probe into head of Brazilian...

Aug 10, 2016

FIFA ethics investigators have announced a formal case against the indicted head of Brazilian...

Sign up now!