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Six referees fired for match-fixing

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Friday, September 26
According to the head of the Refereeing Committee Sergo Kvaratskhelia, 6 referees who were accused of match fixing were fired

Kvaratskhelia said that it is important to determine who else participated in this unsportsmanlike activity.

“The investigation continues, and we the Football Federation Referee Committee demand that the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) identify all the individuals that took part,” Kvaratskhelia stressed.

Police have arrested eight football referees of the 16-team Georgian football league for match-fixing on September 24.

Seven of the arrested men were national or first category referees while one was a FIFA arbiter.

The referees are accused of taking cash ranging from USD 2,500 to USD 5,000 in exchange for securing a favorable number of bookings in matches they were officiating.

The scheme, according to the MIA, involved spot-betting in which odds are offered to the number of yellow and red cards given, as well as penalties or other incidents during the match.

Using this scheme, fans were able to knowingly bet on how many cards were issued during each football game, thus winning money through illegal means.

The investigation is being launched related to commercial bribery committed by a group, which under Georgian law could lead to a prison sentence from four to six years.

There are over 30 of referees and assistant referees available for the Georgian Premier League, nine of them (3 referees and 6 assistant referees) are on FIFA international men’s referees list.

President of the Georgian Football Association Zviad Sichinava said that there were some rumors about it but no one had any evidence concerning the issue.

He stressed that the investigation should continue, but instead of focusing only on referees, the probe should widen in order to also include much wider circle of illegal betting groups.

The Executive Director of the Football Federation Revaz Arveladze said that the investigation was launched due to the federation’s demand.

“The UEFA special committee sent us some information, they were researching some suspicious matches and we decided to involve the MIA in the process,” stressed Arveladze.

Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Levan Kipiani said that this is a worldwide disease. “Such facts take place not only in Georgia. We have already signed a document according to which Georgia, with other European countries, has accepted responsibility to carry out all possible measures to prevent such shameful activities in the future,” stated Kipiani.