Football: France probes suspicions of match-fixing in PSG Champions League game against Red Star

PSG's Kylian MBappe (left) and Neymar celebrate a goal during the match, which PSG won 6-1. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (REUTERS) - France's financial prosecutor's office said on Friday (Oct 12) it was investigating suspicions of match-fixing in the Champions League soccer match between Paris St Germain and Serbian club Red Star Belgrade on Oct 3.

Earlier on Friday, French sports newspaper L'Equipe wrote on its website that European football's governing body Uefa had alerted French authorities of possible match-fixing at the match, based on a tip from a "credible" informant.

L'Equipe said the informant had told Uefa, before the match, that a high-level Red Star official was planning to place nearly €5 million (S$8 million) in bets on a five-goal-difference win by PSG, with the complicity of several players.

This prompted the investigation.

Paris St Germain beat Red Star 6-1.

The prosecutor's office said it could neither confirm nor deny L'Equipe's story.

Red Star denied the allegations made in the newspaper report.

"With the utmost anger and disdain, Red Star vehemently denies allegations that the club's Champions League match with Paris Saint Germain might have been rigged. Red Star also strongly denies the involvement of any of the club's officials in any such illegitimate acts," Red Star said in a statement.

"Allegations from L'Equipe could cause considerable damage to our club's reputation and Red Star Football Club therefore insists that Uefa as well as the authorities in Serbia and France should fully investigate these suspicions to find out the truth," Red Star said.

PSG, owned by the state-backed Qatari Sports Investments, also denied any wrongdoing and said it would cooperate with investigators.

"The club categorically rejects any direct or indirect involvement with these suspicions," PSG said in a statement, adding that it had not been contacted by investigators.

L'Equipe wrote that no evidence of any match-fixing had yet been uncovered by authorities and that all options were possible, from match-fixing to false allegations.

L'Equipe quoted PSG as saying they were surprised and shocked by the allegations and that no one at the club had been contacted about anything other than issues strictly linked to organising the match.

PSG was not immediately available for comment.

In an emailed response to Reuters, Uefa said it never comments on potential, or the existence of, investigations into alleged match-fixing so as not to compromise the process of such investigations.

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