News this week that five former football players and two others had been indicted for alleged match-fixing has prompted one leading commentator to claim that Norwegian football had now lost its virtue. “Charges aren’t a conviction, but someone has taken the virtue out of Norwegian football,” wrote Inge D Hanssen in newspaper Aftenposten.
The seven are charged with aggravated corruption and fraud against Norsk Tipping, the state-run lottery system. They’re suspected of match-fixing and the police corruption investigation has gone on for more than two years.
Five players for the minor league Follo and Asker clubs and two “backmen” who allegedly paid them to make sure the clubs lost now face up to 10 years in prison. The case is a serious one for both the national football federation and the state lottery system. The players deny doing anything wrong. Their case is due to come up in court next spring.