The Straits Times
Published on Feb 06, 2013

Corruption scandal hurts football, says Lahm


BERLIN (AFP) - Germany captain Philipp Lahm has said the current corruption scandal rocking European football is damaging the game's image with politicians here calling on Fifa boss Sepp Blatter to act.

European police announced on Monday that they have uncovered the biggest betting scandal in football history with 380 professional games having been manipulated world wide and 425 referees, players and officials involved.

Europol has been investigating for 18 months and said World Cup and European Championship qualifiers, plus Champions League and several top matches in European leagues have been affected. Police believe a crime syndicate based in Singapore was liaising with criminal networks throughout Europe, adding that match-fixing has taken place in 15 countries and 50 people have so far been arrested.

Lahm, who will captain Germany in Wednesday's friendly against France in Paris, said the squad was shocked by the scale of the coruption. "Of course that surprised us," said the Bayern Munich star. "Something like that is obviously bad (for the sport). Any fan who goes to the stadium expects to see two teams meet who will do anything to win."