Russian football team bribed ref: Norway player
Former Zenit Saint Petersburg defender Erik Hagen said Wednesday that he had paid a referee to fix a UEFA Cup match during his time at the Russian team.
The 38-year old Norwegian footballer said it was customary to pay for match-fixing and he and his teammates each paid a referee $3,000 (2,180 euros)
to secure the outcome of a UEFA Cup match between 2005 and 2008.
In return he said each of them received a $12,000 bonus.
“I can’t remember which match it was … I asked ‘what’s going on’ and they just said ‘You got to get used to this because that’s how it is’,” he told Norwegian daily VG.
Asked whether he had brought the issue to the attention of UEFA he said he would “tell them the same thing if they ring me”.
“Someone has to be the first to do this,” he said. “There are lots of rumours about corruption in international football.”
Later Hagen has told Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency by phone that the match that he was talking about was Zenit’s UEFA Cup group stage encounter with the Portuguese team Vitoria Guimaraes and Zenit had won it 2-1.
In October 2005 Zenit beat them in the UEFA Cup clash, which was officiated by the referee Dejan Delevic of Serbia and Montenegro.
“What evidence do I have?” Hagen told ITAR-TASS. “After the match the atmosphere in the dressing room was a bit strange, not like after the regular victory.
“Who exactly paid the referee? All the players paid a bit. I think there was a team meeting where this decision was taken. Unfortunately I don’t know Russian and didn’t understand anything of what has been said at that meeting.”
Meanwhile, Zenit denied the allegations completely. “We are deeply astonished by the statement of Erik Hagen,” a spokesman foe the Russian team, Evgueny Gusev told the state news agency RIA Novosti.
“Zenit has always followed and follows the principles of fair play and proves its worth only on the football field.”