SPANISH football has been hit by another match-fixing scandal that has seen a number of arrests allegedly including a club president.
Police swooped on 17 individuals, with 11 detained in the Spanish enclave of Melilla and six more in the province of Granada.
The arrests were made after authorities received reports of suspicious betting activities in these regions, with the amount of money lost to the fraud yet to be determined.
Multiple wagers raised red flags, leading to suspicions over the involvement of a local team in betting fraud and an investigation was launched back in February.
The team in question has been unofficially reported as Huracan Melilla, an underperforming club in the fourth tier of Spanish football.
The club president was allegedly at the heart of the conspiracy, colluding with players to manipulate the outcomes of sports bets.
To skirt detection, the suspects used third parties to place the illicit wagers.
The police investigation also uncovered subsidies-related fraud linked to the same club, with the authorities now scrutinising seven soccer matches.
Although more arrests are deemed unlikely, the total amount lost by operators due to the club’s fraudulent activities is still unknown.
This latest incident adds to Spain’s ongoing battle against problem gaming and gambling crime.
Despite concerted efforts to regulate the gambling sector, the country continues to face challenges in eliminating fraud completely.
In July, the Directorate General of Gaming (DGOJ), Spain’s national regulator, opened public consultations on proposed changes to its monitoring framework.
Stakeholders and the public have until September 7 to provide their input on these amendments.
The changes align with the country’s commitment to creating a responsible gambling environment, with a focus on safeguarding young people from the perils of excessive gambling and exposure to gambling content.
Notably, Spain’s gambling market has shown resilience, reporting steady growth in the first quarter of the year, according to the DGOJ’s recent report.
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