A man was handed a suspended sentence and a €50,000 fine after admitting to match-fixing charges relating to Attard FC. 

Rudgear Scerri, a 21-year-old Qormi resident, was escorted to court on Wednesday under arrest and charged with breaching the law on prevention of corruption in sports.

He was charged with involvement in the manipulation of a sporting event, failing to pass on information to the police authorities, as well as conducting unlicensed gaming, namely taking bets.

Prosecuting Inspectors George Frendo and Wayne Borg explained how the accused had been arrested following a tip-off to the police, who then searched his home. 

Some €20,000 to €30,000 were confiscated in the raid of the residence where the suspect lived with his girlfriend, along with electronic devices which were still subject to ongoing investigations, the prosecution informed the court.

Upon the man’s guilty plea, presiding magistrate Charmaine Galea explained that the charges carried a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum €500,000 fine.

“Sit down and think about it,” said the magistrate, granting the accused sufficient time to reconsider his plea. 

Yet, some minutes later, the man confirmed his admission.

After taking note of the evidence put forward, the accused’s early guilty plea and his clean criminal record, the court condemned him to a two-year jail term suspended for four years and a fine of €50,000 payable in €1,500 monthly instalments.

When meting out punishment the court also took note of the fact that these “were serious crimes undermining the competitive spirit in sport”.

Lawyers Lennox Vella and William Cuschieri were defence counsel.

Following the verdict, the Malta Football Association announced that it was suspending Scerri from all football activity with immediate effect. 

The MFA said its integrity department would be speaking to the police to consider any further disciplinary action that could be justified following further investigation.

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