Uefa to investigate Albania

The Albanian government accuses its own football federation of corruption.

    Better times: Armando Duka (r) gives a
    Albanian national jersey to Uefa president
    Michel Platini in Tirana [AFP]

    The Albanian government wants Uefa to investigate match-fixing allegations involving its last two European Championship qualifiers.

    Suela Musta, a ministry spokeswoman, said State minister Ylli Pango, responsible for sports, wrote to Uefa and implicated Albania's top football official in the alleged scandal.

    "There are clear suspicions that both matches were sold by the president of our national football federation (Armando Duka)," Musta quoted the letter as saying.

    "There is clear evidence he used national team matches for his own interests, insulting the aspirations of fans everywhere."

    Uefa have already announced plans to investigate.

    "We have received a letter relating to two games by the Albanian national football team, pointing out that there were some irregularities and encouraging us to investigate," Uefa spokesman William Gaillard said.

    "We have a number of means to find out about irregularities, so of course we will treat it like any other kind of information we receive. We will pay attention to it."

    Albania lost to visiting Belarus 4-2 and at Romania 6-1 last month in its final Group G qualifiers.

    Romania and the Netherlands qualified for the final tournament in Austria and Switzerland from the group.

    The Albanian football federation has denied any wrongdoing.

    "Football is a game of victories and defeats. One should know how to accept defeats, no matter how bitter," the federation said in a statement.

    Duka was appointed during the former Socialist government, now in opposition.

    The national team's 75-year-old Croatian coach Otto Baric resigned following the two losses.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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