PLAYERS and staff at Real Zaragoza and Levante have lined up in court as Spain’s first major match-fixing trial got underway.
A former Man United midfielder was among the 42 defendants charged over a suspect match in 2011 between the two sides.
Real Zaragoza’s 2-1 win in the last match of the season, spared the club relegation from the Spanish first division.
But the match triggered an anti-corruption probe and investigators have since alleged the result had been pre-arranged between the clubs.
Ander Herrera and the other accused made no comments as they arrived at the court in Valencia for the start of proceedings.
The official compliant file by prosecutors had named players, coaches and directors from across the two clubs, and claimed €965,000 had changed hands.
Pictures from inside the courtroom show both sets of players, and club officials sat in a manner resembling an awkward team photo.
The Prosecutor’s Office has requested two years in prison for each defendant and a ban of six years for players and former executives.
As well as a fine for the club’s hand of more than one million euro, if the accusations are proven.
The case is expected to carry on through to September 30 with a sentence to follow within the following two months.