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Swedish top-flight game postponed after fixing attempt

Swedish top-flight game postponed after fixing attempt

STOCKHOLM: Thursday’s top-flight clash between Swedish giants Gothenburg and AIK was postponed after at least one player was threatened and told to fix the result.

There have been several similar incidents in Swedish football in the past but none involving the first division.

“This is a very serious attack against Swedish football and we will never, never accept this,” Hakan Sjostrand, secretary general of the Swedish Football Federation, said in a statement. “Based on the information we’ve received, we cannot guarantee that the IFK Gothenburg and AIK game is a safe match.”

Stockholm-based AIK informed the federation that a player had been approached and threatened and the police were called in.

The player was offered “a large sum of money” in exchange for trying to ensure that AIK lost, the federation said.

“With veiled threats the fixer demanded that the player perform badly during the match against IFK Gothenburg,” the federation said in a statement.

IFK Gothenburg’s sports chief Mats Green initially identified the player as AIK’s Greek-Canadian goalkeeper Kenny Stamatopoulos, Green told the daily Goteborgs-Posten.

But later, at a press conference, Green said he had spoken too hastily and that “several players” from AIK had been targeted, without specifying whether Stamatopoulos was one of them. Swedish police and both clubs are releasing few details.

“In the interest of the investigation we want this to be covered by secrecy as long as possible,” police commissioner Fredrik Gardare said.

AIK said it would not make its players available to the press until further notice.—AFP

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