Two third-level footballers accept two months in prison for corruption in sports betting


The two soccer players from the Club Deportivo Acero convicted of a crime of corruption in sport.
I. Cabanes

The corruption in football for illicit economic purposes in sports betting returns to court. This time in lower categories with the second firm conviction in the Valencian Community since the crime of corruption in sport was introduced in the Penal Code for carrying out conduct aimed at deliberately and fraudulently altering the outcome of a sporting match or competition.

Two footballers from the Club Deportivo Acero, from the Spanish Third Division, have been sentenced this Monday to two months in prison for trying to alter the result of a match played in February 2016, against the Club Deportivo Recambios Colón Valencia, in Port de Sagunt.

The two captains of the Saguntino club have acknowledged having offered a thousand euros to the goalkeeper of their team who was going to play the aforementioned match as a starter to allow himself to score a goal in the first half. The goalkeeper refused up to three times and alerted his coach, who, seeing the “Suspicious attitude” of one of the captains during the game, decided to replace it.

However, and although Deportivo Acero ended up losing the match 0-1 with a goal scored in the second half – the bet stated that the goal should be in the first half – the mere offer of money with the intention of fraudulently alter the course of the match it is already constitutive of a crime.

The Public Prosecutor initially requested a three-year prison sentence for each of the two accused soccer players, but after the agreement reached between the parties, including the Professional Soccer League and the Community Soccer Federation Valenciana as accusations, the sentence has been lowered to two months in jail. In addition, they should not enter prison by replacing it with the payment of 1,080 euros and a fine of 500 euros.

The events date back to February 28, 2016, in the Third Division match between the Club Deportivo Acero and the Club Deportivo Recambios Colón Valencia, played at the Fornas stadium in Port de Sagunt. According to the proven facts, after the recognition of the two accused footballers, in the days before the game, the goalkeeper who was going to play as a starter for his team was given the “opportunity” to receive money if he allowed himself to score a goal in the first half.

Up to three occasions they offered him money to adulterate the course of said match, first 300 euros, then 500, and a last attempt of a thousand euros. They tried to convince the goalkeeper by arguing that there was a lot of money at stake and citing the problems they had to collect what their own club owed them.

But the goalkeeper refused “flatly” to participate in the match and brought the facts to the attention of the team coach. During the meeting, one of the now condemned showed a suspicious attitude, “Continuously facilitating the possession of the ball to the opposing team”, until he was replaced, as detailed by the prosecutor in his brief of provisional conclusions, while the other defendant did not participate as he was sanctioned.

It has not been proven that the convicts finally received any economic benefit and the final result of the match, which Deportivo Acero lost 0-1, was not affected by the maneuvers of the accused.

Although before the oral hearing the defendants continued to defend their innocence, given the high penalty they faced, three years in prison, they have opted for acknowledge the facts and accept a minimal penalty for which they should not enter prison, as indicated by legal sources.

A criminal court of Valencia has issued this morning sentence ‘in voce’ in which it condemns both captains of the Club Deportivo Acero to two months in prison for a crime of corruption in sport included in article 286 bis 3 and 4 of the Penal Code, with the mitigating circumstance of undue delay. Likewise, the jail sentence is replaced by the payment of 180 days of fine, at a rate of six euros a day, and another 500 euros of fine. The sentence carries two months of disqualification for the exercise of professional sports.

This is the second conviction in the Valencian Community for a crime of corruption in sports related to match fixing after a UD Benigànim player was already convicted in October 2019, by the same court that now condemns footballers from CD Acero, to six months in prison and a 700-euro fine for a fix reported in 2016 by the club itself and LaLiga jointly.

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