A Spanish judge is probing whether the Russian soccer team that won the UEFA cup earlier this year did so using mafia-fueled bribes. The sad thing about this is not the possiblity that the rumor is true, but how instantly credible it is that Russia could be involved in such activity. In fact, it’s not even a little bit surprising. ESPN reports:
Zenit St Petersburg manager Dick Advocaat has joined his club in expressing his dismay at allegations that the Russian club won the UEFA Cup by virtue of match-fixing.
Spanish newspaper El Pais claimed a judge had forwarded information to German prosecutors which claimed a gang with links to the Russian mafia had given money to Bayern Munich before their semi-final earlier this year.
Zenit beat the Bundesliga outfit 4-0 in the second leg of their semi-final, before getting past Rangers in the final to lift the UEFA Cup.
With Bayern also denying the allegations, the Russian club have threatened legal action. In a statement on their official website, they said last: “In a selection of the media, news has popped up which refers to different Spanish sources, and directly affects FC Zenit’s reputation.
“The quality of play shown by FC Zenit in the games against Rangers FC and Bayern Munich is the best proof that the victories were earned by Zenit in honest and non-compromising challenges.”
“Allegations of deals mentioned in the media are offensive to all parties mentioned.
Advocaat was appalled by the allegations. “This is incredible,” he told the Daily Record. “All I can say is let them play the tapes so we can hear what has been said. Then everyone will know what a big lie it is.
“Everyone knows the simple truth – we had a better team than Rangers. That’s why we won the UEFA Cup.
“Rangers played very well, but we were the better side. There was no mystery. I don’t know why anybody would say something like this.
“There is a lot of jealousy about what we have achieved with Zenit in such a short space of time. People don’t like the fact that we have been so successful so quickly.
“But that has nothing to do with bribes or dirty money. It has everything to do with the quality of the players and coaching staff. That’s why we have achieved so much.”
Advocaat also dismissed suggestions either Rangers or Bayern could be bought to throw a match and also insisted Zenit’s mega-rich owners Gazprom would never indulge in such tactics.
He said: “Do you honestly think clubs like Bayern Munich or Rangers would get involved in taking money to lose football matches? That is just ridiculous.” LR: Is he suggesting the would admit it if the were doing it? Talk about ridiculous!