Polish football corruption trial begins
PR dla Zagranicy
Some 34 defendants have gone on trial in Poland in a major case relating to match-fixing in Polish football.
Judge Mariusz Wiazek on Wednesday: photo - PAP/Maciej Kulczynski
Chief defendant Ryszard F. (full name withheld under Polish privacy laws), stands accused of running a criminal group that was involved in match-rigging between July 2003 and June 2006.
Among those facing charges are referees, players and football officials in an affair that takes in a string of major clubs, including Widzew Lodz, Zaglebie Lubin and Zawisza Bydgoszcz, among others.
The trial in Wroclaw, south west Poland, was due to begin in February, but Ryszard F., who is known by the nickname of “The Barber”, failed to appear in court. He was ultimately arrested in August.
The case file runs to 1700 pages, and the reading of the indictment alone stretched to several hours.
According to the prosecution, Ryszard F. both gave and accepted bribes in order to fix match results.
The drive to tackle corruption in Polish football began in 2005, and about 600 people have been charged since then, including a former national coach, Janusz. F.
Ryszard F. first fell foul of the law in 2010, when he was found guilty of fixing matches involving premier league side Arka Gdynia. (nh)