Alleged match fixing scandal not a dark day – LaLiga president
LaLiga president Javier Tebas is looking on the bright side of Spain's alleged match-fixing scandal as he believes it highlights the necessary authorities are doing their jobs correctly.
News broke on Tuesday that several arrests had been made early that morning in Spain following an investigation into a group alleged to have taken part in match-fixing in an attempt to profit from betting.
Players from LaLiga and Spain's Segunda Division are reported to be have been detained, while Huesca –relegated from the top tier this season – confirmed a number of executives and playing staff have appeared voluntarily as witnesses.
Six people are expected to appear before a judge on Thursday, while 15 others with "connections to football, sports betting and Huesca" are being investigated, according to Spain's judicial body.
A Spanish newspaper dubbed it a "dark day", but LaLiga's controversial president Tebas is taking an optimist's view.
"Does is it hurt football? Since a long time ago, I think it is the opposite," he told a news conference on Wednesday.
"I've seen a 'dark day' headline, but it is the other way around. We know the police and LaLiga don't fall asleep.
"Crime is part of society and we try to reduce it as much as possible. Burglaries and homicides will never be avoided. The important thing is to reduce them as much as possible, we are all working on it.
"If sometimes something happens, it doesn't mean everything is dirty. On the contrary, I think it is a day to congratulate the police, the anti-corruption [officials] and the people of LaLiga who initiated this investigation process a year ago. Also, the judge, the prosecutor.
"Once the judicial secrecy is open we will be able to know more, but I think we have to congratulate them. I think it is a good day.
"I sent a letter to every one of LaLiga's sponsors explaining everything. We want them to feel the place where they invested their money is clean, not as it happened in other sports.
"We need to reassure them that their investment here is safe, that everything going on now is true, because we work seriously. Also, when we catch them [those who are responsible] they are punished, obviously after a fair trial.
"I think it is a good day to say the way we do things is working as well as the police do, so we have to congratulate ourselves."
'Operation Oikos' was spawned by LaLiga becoming alerted to apparent bettering irregularities during a Segunda match between Huesca and Gimnastic Tarragona last May.
Huesca had already secured promotion to LaLiga and ultimately lost 1-0 to Nastic, who at the time were battling relegation. Large bets on the game are said to have been placed from Ukraine and Asia.