A police investigation into match-fixing allegations in the football game between Malta and Norway five years ago is “still ongoing”.
The police started investigating the matter last year when the claims first surfaced during a match-fixing trial in Germany.
Croat Marijo Cvrtak, a convicted member of a notorious Croatian betting syndicate, had identified the Euro 2008 qualifier between Malta and Norway as one of the rigged matches. The game, played in 2007, saw Norway beat Malta 4-0 in Oslo.
The police investigation started in parallel with another initiated by the Malta Football Association, which was concluded last week and the findings passed on to UEFA, the European football governing body. MFA president Norman Darmanin Demajo said the association found “overwhelming” evidence to support match-fixing claims that would help UEFA reach a speedy conclusion.
But the parameters to charge someone with a criminal offence were “specific and absolute”, a police spokesman said. “This is totally different from any other investigation being carried out.” The spokesman confirmed that the investigation was “still ongoing” and the police would decide whether to press criminal charges once it was concluded.
In line with its policy not to publicly name players before their case is concluded, the MFA has so far refrained from mentioning the names of the main suspects that include one or more national football team players.
Mr Cvrtak said he had met at least three Maltese players in an Oslo hotel before the tainted game.
The MFA’s internal investigation was spread over three months. About 30 people, including 23 players and members of the national team’s technical staff that formed part of the 2007 contingent, were interviewed. The findings are detailed in a 500-page dossier. UEFA is expected to deliver its verdict by the end of the football season in May.
When visiting Malta recently, UEFA president Michel Platini said players implicated in match-fixing should be banned for life. Emphasising UEFA’s zero-tolerance stance on illegal gambling and match-fixing, Mr Platini said players had to shoulder the responsibility because such illegal activity was “killing the game”.
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