Norway’s first trial over alleged football match-fixing got underway in Oslo this week, with all seven defendants declaring themselves not guilty. Prosecutors have indicted them on charges of corruption and defrauding Norway’s state lottery, Norsk Tipping.
One of the defendants, a football player for the small Follo club south of Oslo, admitted receiving NOK 15,000 as did a player from the Asker club from a Swede who’s also indicted in the case. The player testified, though, that the money was only paid in gratitude “for good tips.” He denied he rigged any match results.
News bureau NTB reported that players charged in the case are accused of receiving as much as NOK 200,000 to lose two football matches in the summer of 2012. One of them admitted to having “talked a lot about match-fixing” but claimed he was just joking around. “I have said a lot of stupid things and things that aren’t right,” he testified. “I have never gone along with, or been asked to go along with match-fixing.”
Police have played tapes of phone conversations made during the investigation, however, in which he was heard saying that he’d been promised NOK 70,000 but only got NOK 30,000. Again, the player claimed he was just joking or boasting.
Another man charged in the case allegedly gambled NOK 79,000 on two matches that are under investigation. The gain amounted to NOK 350,000.
The trial was unfolding in the Oslo City Court (Oslo tingretten), with the defendants facing prison terms of as long as 10 years.