Spanish clubs Espanyol, Osasuna deny match-fixing reports
MADRID (AP) — Spanish football clubs Espanyol and Osasuna have hit back at press reports they are under investigation for fixing a league match in May last year.
At separate press conferences on Tuesday both clubs denied any wrongdoing.
Osasuna president Luis Sabalza said there is no evidence linking the club with match-fixing, adding that “Osasuna obtained no benefit whatsoever, the team was relegated.”
Sabalza was not in charge of Osasuna at the time of the alleged irregularities.
Espanyol vice-president Rafael Entrena also rebutted the reports, saying his club “defends the purity and sporting nature of the game.”
Osasuna did acknowledge a government sports council audit at the end of last year that had uncovered an unaccounted-for payment had been made by the club.
Although Osasuna did not reveal the amount, media reports fixed the sum at 2,416,611 euros ($2,746,000).
“One thing is certain, that a sum of money was paid out in cash,” club director Pedro Baile said. “Osasuna has been harmed because money has disappeared from our funds.”
In December, Spain’s state prosecutor said then-Japan coach Javier Aguirre, Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera, Atletico Madrid captain Gabi and 38 others had been named in an alleged case of match-fixing during a game in the 2010-11 season.
Aguirre was also coach of Espanyol at the time of the match against Osasuna.
Former Mexico coach Aguirre was fired from the Japan post on Feb. 3.
Aguirre denies any wrongdoing.