LONDON (Reuters) – Debrecen goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic has denied attempting to fix his Hungarian side’s Champions League match with Liverpool in 2009, saying his performance should speak for itself.
European police said on Monday that about 680 suspicious matches including qualifying games for the World Cup and European Championships, and the Champions League for top European club sides, have been identified in a fix inquiry.
Media reports said Debrecen’s 1-0 defeat at Liverpool was under scrutiny amid allegations of a failed plan to concede more than two goals but the club have said the issue had already been looked at and Montenegrin Poleksic has hit out.
"Anyone who watched the match would know what people are saying is bull," the 30-year-old, who made a few decent saves, told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper on Wednesday.
"It was the biggest match of my career and Liverpool have always been my favourite club. I can’t believe what people have said about me. But I don’t care because I know I am clean."
Poleksic was given a two-year ban in 2010 for failing to report approaches from alleged fixers ahead of another Champions League match with Italian side Fiorentina and Debrecen said on Tuesday that the Liverpool game was also probed in that case.
Debrecen said the keeper, who returned to action this season, was punished for not informing authorities of an approach from fixers but was innocent of having manipulated any matches because he rejected the bribery requests.
The case came before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in 2011 when Poleksic’s team mate Norbert Meszaros, who played against both Liverpool and Fiorentina, had his own 18-month ban for the same offence overturned.
"I was just delighted to be playing at Anfield. It was a great night for me and my club and we played well," Poleksic added.
English Premier League side Liverpool, who are not under suspicion, said they had not heard from European anti-crime body Europol or any other agency regarding the match.
Last month, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said no games in Europe’s Champions League had been fixed.
The Europol announcement about a widespread global match-fixing ring being run from Singapore shocked much of the game but others said a lot of the revelations were old news with many matches already having been investigated by football authorities.
The fix ringleaders are well-known to police, experts said.
(Writing by Mark Meadows; Editing by John O’Brien)
- Debrecen rubbish match-fixing reports as old news
- Singapore join probe into match-fixing scam
- Singapore joins probe into match-fixing scam
- Israel FA chairman says the sport is clean
- All about winning for Mourinho amid academy spat