Friday, 29th November, 2013

English football's recent match-fixing scandal has echoed memories of the early nineties for Arsene Wenger, but the Arsenal boss refuses to believe the problem exists in the Premier League.

Wenger was manager of Monaco when the principality club became embroiled in a similar crisis alongside Marseille.


It has emerged in recent days that six men, including at least three players, have been arrested on suspected match-fixing charges.

The fixing is believed to be linked between international betting syndicates and lower-division clubs though the identities of the clubs in the UK are yet to be revealed.


But Wenger believes the English game is largely clean, telling a press conference today: "Maybe lower divisions are more under threat. It is more anonymous, there is less money so it is easier to buy people.

"I don't think it exists at all in the Premier League. I don't believe that in England people fix matches. But we live in an international world.

"We cannot just stop it at the border anymore. That's the new problem. But I still think that 99.9% of English game is completely clean. I hope it [the recent arrests] is an isolated incident."

Given his Monaco experience, Wenger is perhaps best placed to comment on the situation, though the Frenchman maintains his country is also well on the path to recovery.

"It was a period when European football was not clean, for different reasons," he added. "I hope we have left that behind.

"Personally, it was one of the most difficult periods in my life but even in France now, the championship is completely clean.

"But even when it was happening in France and in Europe, I always felt the game would come out clean again, and that the love for the game will take over."

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