Spain’s daily newspaper El Mundo has reported that seven players of Spain’s first division side Real Valladolid were paid by a match-fixing gang to lose their final match of the season against Valencia.
Valencia beat Valladolid 2-0 on 18 May and qualified for the Champions League. Valladolid, owned since September 2018 by former Brazilian international Ronaldo, were already safe from relegation.
The paper reported that police had intercepted telephone conversations involving the retired footballer Carlos Aranda, who was arrested last week on suspicion of leading the ring, and where he was heard saying ‘there were seven [Valladolid] players bought’ in the match.
‘Valencia wins the first half and the second, okay?’ he is caught saying, according to a transcript of another intercepted phone call obtained by the newspaper.
Valladolid captain Borja Fernandez is also among the players who were paid to lose the match, according to a judicial document obtained by El Mundo.
Valladolid announced last week they had opened a disciplinary procedure against Fernandez amid reports that authorities were monitoring Valencia’s final day win against the club.
‘We hope that it is nothing. In any case, I think it is good that we investigate, because we would all fight against corruption,’ Ronaldo said during an interview published last week in sports daily AS.
Aranda was one of several former Spanish footballers who were arrested on 28 May on suspicion of leading a match-fixing gang that operated in the country’s first and second divisions.
The authorities launched their investigation in 2018 following a suspect match between Huesca and Tarragona in the second division.