Football: 19 arrests in Spanish football match-fixing probe

MADRID (AFP) - At least 19 people were arrested in Spain on Monday (Feb 19) in an operation into alleged match-fixing in the country's lower leagues, police sources said.

Arrests were made across the country, including in Barcelona, the sources said. The operation into alleged fraud and corruption is being led by a court in Zafra in the west of Spain.

The ring is accused of using players to force situations such as corners or penalties in games in the Second Division B and Third Division, the third and fourth tiers of Spanish football, which are regionalised.

They would then make bets on these situations. The conspirators under investigation had connections with China, where the bets were placed.

In April 2017, Spanish police arrested the coach of third-tier side Eldense along with two players, another coach and a member of the group of Italian investors who had taken a majority shareholding in the club in late 2016.

They were suspected of throwing a game against Barcelona B, which they lost 12-0.

The five people were released on bail after being charged, and Eldense cancelled the contract of the Italian investors.

At the time, La Liga president Javier Tebas admitted that game was "not the only match we are investigating in the Second Division B and Third Division".