European football chiefs have confirmed they are investigating 40 cases of suspected match-fixing in the Champions League and Uefa Cup. Peter Limacher, head of disciplinary services for Uefa, said the matches being looked at were early qualifying games that took place over the last four seasons, 15 of them in the last two years. Uefa have beefed up their early warning system to protect against illegal betting and match-fixing, and started a special investigation to clamp down on the problem.
"Right now it's mainly eastern Europe clubs being investigated," Limacher said. "They know they are not going to be involved later in the tournament and they are going out, so decide, 'Let's make a profit'. In the cases we have seen, it's really the deliberate planned fix of the games, the whole games. First the result at half time then after 90 minutes. It might take some time [to convict] but in cases where we can work together with the police that might be possible."
Limacher revealed the scale of the investigation after Uefa announced last month that three Macedonian clubs were being probed after banning FK Pobeda from European competitions for eight years. One of the fixtures under suspicion is FK Milano's 12-2 aggregate loss in July against Croatia's Slaven Koprivnika in the second qualifying round of the Europa League, the new name for the Uefa Cup. Limacher said Uefa were building a network of informers across Europe to detect match-fixing. "The Macedonian case was solved from informers and I want to find people with a strong amount of justice," he said. "They could provide us with information."