French handball champions Montpellier are being investigated for match-fixing after French media reported several players — including members of France’s Olympic-winning team — intentionally lost a match their close relatives had bet on.
The investigation into the club, who have been crowned champions 13 times over the past 15 seasons and were European champions in 2003, is centred around their shock defeat to struggling Cesson on May 12. The reports and investigation were been met with widespread disbelief.
Cesson player Mathieu Lanfranchi said: “We didn’t get the impression on the court that it was a rigged match. We took some major hits against that side in a tough game. I have to say those guys were there to really play that match”
The bets in question totalled €5,000 for an overall gain of more than €200,000 and were reportedly placed by wives, girlfriends and other people close to the players.
Club officials have vigorously denied the allegations and vowed to defend their players and club’s honour.