MFA President reveals letter alleging Malta could be a target for illegal betting

MFA president Norman Darmanin Demajo has revealed that in February he had received a letter from a foreign company claiming that local matches could be a target for illegal betting. The company said that betting on certain matches “did not make sense”. Darmanin Demajo was speaking during a meeting of the Council of the Malta Football Association which also focussed on the EURO 2008 qualifier between Norway and Malta which was played in June 2007.

The MFA President said that this foreign agency said that some league matches in Malta could possibly be fixed due to particular betting patterns. The masterminds behind this betting could possibly be located in countries as far as in Asia and South America.

Speaking about the Norway game, MFA CEO Bjorn Vassallo said that while giving evidence in a trial in Bochum, Marijo Cvrtak mentioned the Norway vs Malta game. He alleged he met a Maltese player and then another three Maltese players in order to fix the game. He said he would have preferred a 5-0 win for Norway but agreed on a 4-0 win – the result with which Norway eventually defeated Malta.

Vassallo said that as soon as the association came to know about this information – about four weeks ago, a statement was issued announcing that investigative procedures had been initiated. He said that at that point, the only information the association had was obtained from media reports. However the association still reported the case to the Police although the MFA did not want to hurry in order to avoid creating unnecessary pressure on players just a few days ahead of the EURO 2012 qualifier against Greece which was played last week.

The MFA President met the Police who demanded the list of players, technical staff and officials who had travelled for the game.

An MFA delegation, including Norman Darmanin Demajo and Vassallo, met a foreign agency in London a couple of weeks ago during which the two parties discussed betting patterns affecting local matches.

Meanwhile the Police contacted Europol in order to obtain the evidence given by Marijo Cvrtak in Bochum. A meeting between the association and the police is set to be held next week to discuss what had been obtained.

Vassallo stressed that the association and the Police will be doing their best to safeguard the integrity of the game and should this case been confirmed, safeguard the players who were not involved.

As regards this case, Darmanin Demajo revealed that he had received an anonymous letter in which five players were mentioned as being involved in this case. The letter was forwarded to the Police.

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