The National Police are investigating football clubs in the Balearic Third Division for match-fixing. The investigation has been ongoing for some months, and evidence gathered by police centres on certain players, at least one coach and a group of club directors.
The police indicate that games have been thrown for amounts up to 30,000 euros per club, meaning that each player has been receiving around 2,000 euros, said to be paid out with 500 euro notes. In the form of "pocket money", payments are difficult for the police to detect.
The investigation is being conducted by the gambling service within the National Police's UDEV unit for specialised and violent crime. The chief inspector, Jesús Alberto Fuentes Sastre, suggests that there are "mafias" who select players, coaches and directors in the Third Division and also in the Segunda B divisions. Media coverage of games at these levels is low. Were it high, the match fixing would be more apparent or probably wouldn't happen. As players are in any event paid only small amounts, they are susceptible to being tempted by bribes and match-fixing.
On Tuesday, the police union and the Balearic Football Federation held a conference about illegal gambling and violence. Miquel Bestard of the federation told an audience which included footballers about the concern there is. He thanked the National Police for it having become involved in trying to stamp out fixing.
Anyone found guilty of match-fixing could be liable to a sentence of four years imprisonment.