The long-term president of Deportivo La Coruna has brought corruption back into the spot-light by claiming match-fixing is widespread in La Liga.
Augusto Cesar Lendoiro, president of the Galician club since 1988, told reporters at a Europa Press event in Madrid on Thursday a host of decisive games towards the end of the season had been thrown as a matter of course.
"Almost all the final matches of the season have been fixed in one way or another,” Lendoiro said.
He blamed Depor’s relegation in 2010-11 on match-fixing and said it was widely known that clubs were being paid to throw games to help others avoid the drop to the second division.
"Almost all the final matches of the season have been fixed in one way or another"
Deportivo president Augusto Cesar Lendoiro
“Let all soccer fans be absolutely clear, Deportivo has never taken part - I will put my neck on the line for the players and the board of directors - in this kind of match-fixing," Lendoiro said.
Corruption is firmly entrenched across the political, business and sporting spheres in Spain and it has long been suspected that money changes hands between soccer clubs in the final weeks of the La Liga campaign.
Javier Tebas, the new president of the professional league (LFP) elected last month, told Thursday’s Europa Press event it was a problem that only involved 'a minority' of one percent of clubs but it had to be stamped out.
“It is a cancer that must be eradicated and it has the same effect,” Tebas said.
“If you don’t take immediate action it will spread and turn into metastasis and will destroy our sport.”
The issue of match-fixing was catapulted into the headlines in February when investigators said they had uncovered evidence that hundreds of matches at club and national level had been fixed around the globe in a betting scam run from Singapore.