Filippo Vito di Perro, the Italian manager of third division Spanish football club Eldense, has been arrested for suspected match fixing following the team’s 12-0 defeat to Barcelona’s B team over the weekend.
La Liga President, Javier Tebas, confirmed earlier this week the match would be investigated after Eldense’s board of directors asked for an investigation looking into the possibility of match-fixing.
Tebas, told reporters, an “international betting ring” was possibly involved in influencing the match’s result.
“We are going to look into it because the Eldense board have asked us to and the result at half time was out of the ordinary,” Tebas said. “We’re going to investigate because there are certain collateral issues with an Italian investment group that bear the hallmarks of the possible involvement of an international betting ring with a view to match-fixing.”
Eldense were bought earlier this season by an Italian investment company.
The latest match was played on Saturday at the Mini Estadi. By halftime, Eldense were behind 0-8.
Eldense forward Cheikh Saad, following the match and his team’s subsequent relegation, blew the whistle on the scandal.
Speaking to Catalan radio RAC-1, Saad claimed Eldense players were complicit in contributing to the match’s humiliating score.
Saad said he was approached before the start of the match and again after the match by fellow players telling him the encounter was fixed.
“I know who they are but I cannot say at the moment,” Saad said. “Four players are involved. “Half an hour before the game I was in the team and then I wasn’t. After the game I got on the team bus and my teammates told me: ‘You should know that there are players down there [in the dressing room] who threw the match. I went back down to the dressing room and there was a row going on. There were almost punches thrown.”
Team chairman David Aguilar confirmed Saad has evidence to support his claim and that the matter is being looked at by the police.
Aguilar said he received a phone call telling him the match was fixed and that he and the other board members had suspicions about the Eldense’s new Italian owners.
“The board met on Sunday and decided to sever our ties with the Italian investment group that runs the club,” Aguilar said. “We had had our suspicions for two or three weeks because we were seeing some strange line-ups, with some players being left out and others who had not been anywhere near the team suddenly in the starting line-up.”
The board has said it will suspend all team activities while the investigation progresses.
A spokesperson for the investment group Jose Miguel Esquembre, however, said the team’s board does not have that authority.
“The board does not have the capacity to suspend the activity of CD Eldense,” Esquembre said. “The managers have set up a meeting on Monday with the first team to explain the current situation and prepare for the final stages of the competition.”