Referee of Rigged Bulgaria-Estonia Friendly Arrested

Sports | June 29, 2011, Wednesday // 19:48| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: Referee of Rigged Bulgaria-Estonia Friendly Arrested Latvia beat Bolivia 2-1 in a friendly in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya just before the Bulgaria-Estonia game. Photo by Getty Images

Hungarian police announced Wednesday it has arrested the referee of the notorious Bulgaria - Estonia friendly in February, which was cancelled by FIFA after it found out the game was rigged.

Hungarian authorities arrested referee Kolos Lengel together with 6 ofher persons, three of them current and former football players.

The 7 persons will be charged with participating in a criminal network based in Asia which deals in arranging football games to extract illicit gains from betting results.

They have allegedly been involved in rigging five more international matches, in addition to the 2:2 draw between Bulgaria and Estonia.

The February 2011 friendly ended with all goals coming after penalty kicks and with the Estonian Football Federation accusing their Bulgarian counterparts in under the table agreements about the result.

UEFA conducted a probe, involving even Interpol, and failed to discover any "Bulgarian connection." UEFA and Interpol have concluded that those responsible for the scandal are two individuals from Singapore, organizers of the match.

They are identified as Antony Santia Radz, and his accomplice, Wilson Radz Perumal, and are accused of having played a key role in the plot and represented the shady company during meetings at the football headquarters of Estonia, Bulgaria, Bolivia and Latvia.

The game was organized by the Thailand-based agency "Footy Sport International", while Russian Sergey Protsenko acted as an intermediary despite not holding a license by a FIFA manager.

The same people organized the previous match between Latvia and Bolivia, in which all three goals were also scored from penalties. Latvia beat Bolivia 2-1 in a friendly in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya just before the Bulgaria-Estonia game.

Hungarian referee Krisztian Selmeczi, who was in charge of both matches, has been suspended in the wake of the scandal.

The Bulgarian body has repeatedly protested its innocence, saying they knew nothing of a betting scam that is suspected to have led to all seven goals scored on penalty kicks.

FIFA has vowed to tighten the rules over friendlies following the matches.

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Tags: penalty kicks, Estonia, Bulgaria, UEFA, FIFA, Latvia, Bolivia, football, INTERPOL, Hungary
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