By Chris King • 30 November 2022 • 2:28
Image of a football hitting the back of the net.
Spain’s National Police force launched the second phase of the ‘Coniferous’ operation on Tuesday, November 29. It was launched originally to investigate allegations of match-fixing in football leagues in Spain and Gibraltar to facilitate illegal betting.
The indictment of about twenty people is scheduled to be added to the 27 that were already being investigated by the Sanlucar de Barrameda’s No4 court in Cadiz province. The individuals face charges of belonging to a criminal organisation and corruption among individuals in the sports field.
It is believed the network could have manipulated the results of more than 30 first, second and third-division RFEF matches, as well as games in the Gibraltar National League. A total of €500,000 is estimated to have been profited.
As confirmed to El Confidencial by sources close to the investigations, those investigated in this latest phase reside mostly in Cadiz province, although statements have also been taken from residents of Badajoz, Ceuta, Ciudad Real, and Cordoba.
The main focus was reportedly placed on active players who could have executed the fixes on the pitch. Various other individuals who sold their personal data to the leaders of the group so that they could open accounts with no prior records in different betting operators were also placed under investigation.
These now defendants allegedly lent their names and IDs in exchange for €100 and a small percentage of the money that the organisation made from using their identities.
One of the players investigated is Javi Muñoz, a defender with Cadiz club, Real Balompedica Linense. He allegedly took part in the manipulation of the game his team played against FC Andorra on the last day of the 21/22 season of the First Division RFEF, last May.
FC Andorra arrived at that match mathematically promoted to the Second Division of the SmartBank League. Linense needed the three points to avoid relegation. The Cadiz club ended up winning 3-1 and sealed their permanence in the First RFEF.
After 14 minutes of play, the Andorran goalkeeper made a flagrant mistake which led to the first Linense goal. Bets were placed by the leaders of the organisation on the local side winning this match.
Officers from the National Police Centre for Integrity in Betting and Sports (Cenpida) uncovered conversations that place the Linense central defender as one of the footballers who provided the network with information about the clandestine agreements that took place in the changing rooms. The episode affects FC Andorra, albeit indirectly.
Two players from Cordoba’s CD Pozoblanco, another from CD Rota in Cadiz, and a footballer from CD Manchego in Ciudad Real – who played for Badajoz side UD Montijo in the Segunda RFEF last season – have also been charged.
The latter is implicated in the activity of fixing a UD Montijo-UD Tamaraceite match that ended with a victory for the visitors by a very bulky 1-7 and that has already provoked other accusations. The proceedings referred to a large number of equally scandalous scorelines.
A complaint from LaLiga led to Europol and Interpol participating in the operation this Tuesday. As reported previously by El Confidencial, there is also an alleged premium to third parties of €15,000 relating to the last league game of Group X of the Third Division RFEF last season.
Sevilla side CD Gerena allegedly agreed to pay that amount to CD Utrera – also in Sevilla – if they managed to beat Cordoba B. The match ended in a draw, but the conversations were recorded by Cenpida investigators.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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