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Players in historic Spanish matchfixing case cleared

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By Reuters
Players in historic Spanish matchfixing case cleared
FILE PHOTO: Former Japan National coach Javier Aguirre of Mexico enters the courthouse in Valencia to declare about his alleged involvement on an ongoing match-fixing case in Valencia , March 27, 2015. REUTERS/Heino Kalis   -   Copyright  Heino Kalis(Reuters)
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MADRID (Reuters) – A Spanish court cleared 36 players of sporting corruption on Monday relating to the 2010-11 season match between Levante and Zaragoza, which was investigated on suspicion of match-fixing after the latter won to stay in the top flight.

Two former Zaragoza officials were convicted of fraud. The Spanish side were accused of paying Levante players 965,000 euros (£829,012.47) to lose so Zaragoza could avoid relegation.

Paris St Germain midfielder Ander Herrera, Leganes coach Javier Aguirre, and former Atletico Madrid captain Gabi Fernandez were among those who stood trial.

All 41 people accused were found not guilty, with the Valencian court citing a lack of evidence in a statement.

The judge convicted former Zaragoza president Agapito Iglesias and former financial director Javier Porquera of fraud, issuing them a one year and three month jail sentence. However, they are unlikely to serve jail time due to Spanish rules over suspended sentences for first-time offenders.

The two former Zaragoza officials were found guilty of using 1.73 million euros from Zaragoza’s accounts to pay players relegation bonuses.

(Reporting by Rik Sharma; Editing by Christian Radnedge)