Police arrest handball players in match-fixing scandal

Published on: Amended:

French police have arrested several members of the Montpellier handball club after playing against PSG in Paris on Sunday as part of an investigation into suspected match-fixing.

Police arrested eight Montpellier handball players and several of their associates after France’s champions France team match at the Paris arena on Sunday as part of an investigation into suspected match-fixing, said a police official.

Nikola Karabatic, a double Olympic champion with the France national team and considered one of the best players in the world, and his brother Luka were among those arrested after Sunday’s game against PSG, the official said.

The brothers were among “more than 10 people” detained for questioning at the premises of the Service central des courses hippiques et des jeux of the judicial police in Nanterre, west of Paris, the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation. The official declined to specify how many people were detained.

Montpellier have been accused of match-fixing after French media reported last week that several players had intentionally helped lose a match that their relatives and other associates had bet on. Montpellier were on course to win the national title when they lost to Cesson-Rennes 31-28 on May 12.

A team spokeswoman told The Associated Press that police spoke to some players after the game, but declined to comment further.

Shortly after Sunday’s game ended in a 38-24 victory for PSG, Karabatic, 28, was interviewed by Canal Plus TV about the loss, but walked away when told asked to comment on the survey. Television footage showed Karabatic being taken out of the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris by plainclothes officers and climbing into a car.

Last week, reports indicated that a total of eight Montpellier players were believed to be involved and the bets in question amounted to €5,000. The police chief told the AP that the total winnings amounted to more than 200,000 euros.

Montpellier president Remy Levy appeared to steer the club’s management away from the targeted players, saying in a statement last week that he “protested vigorously” against the involvement of the club itself.

Joël Delplanque, president of the French Handball Federation, told BFMTV he hoped the investigation would be carried out “in the most serious and quickest way possible so that once and for all we know what happened. happened – and who in fact was responsible for these anomalies of which we have now become aware.