Kosovo To Probe Football Match Fixing Claims After French Arrests


By Perparim Isufi

Kosovo prosecutors on Friday said they are probing suspicions published in French media about football match fixing in a network which saw four people arrested in France in recent days.

In what it looks like the biggest fixing affairs since Kosovo was admitted to Europe’s football governing body, UEFA, in 2016, French newspaper Le Parisien reported on Thursday that nine persons, including four Kosovo citizens, have been charged for involvement in a network of corruption and rigged bets on football matches in the Kosovo championship. Bets are suspected to have been made on French betting sites.

Hours after the news broke out, the Pristina prosecution announced that it is looking into the suspicions.

“Pristina Basic Prosecution … is addressing these cases, but due to the integrity of the process, we cannot give more details,” the Prosecution said on Friday.

Kosovo’s football governing body, FFK, said it has immediately taken “necessary measures” to investigate and address the suspicions to relevant institutions.

A federation official dealing with competition integrity has been called for a report and UEFA has also been informed.

“FFK, together with Kosovo authorities, will coordinate with UEFA and other international bodies in investigation of this case and depending on the result of investigation, our disciplinary bodies will take necessary measures against clubs or individuals involved in potential irregularities,” FFK said.

The Council for Sports, an inter-institutional body dealing with prevention and sanctioning of negative phenomena in sports, has also asked for a thorough investigation.

“Since suspicions for match fixing are at the investigation stage, including cooperation with France’s authorities … we cannot give additional information that could harm the investigation,” the Council said.

This is not the first case of Kosovo football match fixing.

In December 2019, four football officials were indicted in Kosovo for allegedly fixing a match played in the northern city of Mitrovica in February that year, to secure a Belgian-based relative of one of those involved 10,000 euros in prize winnings.

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (formerly the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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