Southampton legend admits to Premier League betting scam
Claus Lundekvam says fixing was rife in English football during his career
A DAY after Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere had his wrist slapped by Uefa for joking about placing a bet on a team mate, rather more serious betting allegations have emerged from former Southampton skipper Claus Lundekvam, who has claimed that fixing was commonplace in the Premier League during his career.
The defender, who played for the Saints between 1996 and 2008 said he and other players would make money by placing bets on things like the first throw-in or corner and would then collude with the opposition to make sure they won.
The Sun says the allegations have "blown the lid on systematic fraud by top-flight players". It draws comparisons with other spot fixing scandals and says footballers "made thousands of pounds by spot-fixing - just like the three jailed Pakistan cricketers".
Lundekvam made the allegations in a series of interviews in his native Norway reports the tabloid.
"It's not something I'm proud of," he said. "For a while we did this almost every week. We made a fair bit of money. We could make deals with the opposing captain about, for example, betting on the first throw, the first corner, who started with the ball, a yellow card or a penalty."
Lundekvam, who struggled with cocaine and alcohol abuse after retiring in 2008, said it happened at several different clubs but added that the bets were "just a fun thing" for the players who lived inside a "bubble" and insisted that they did not affect the outcome of a match.
"The English and global football authorities, not to mention the police and the Premier League's millions of fans worldwide, are unlikely to take the same view," says the Sun. "Betting on penalties, in particular, would take the fixing into new territory since the outcome of matches would clearly be affected if a goal was scored."
The Daily Mail notes that Saints legend Matt Le Tissier admitted that he once bet on the time of the first throw-in in his autobiography.
Wilshere was cautioned by Uefa this week over a tweet last season in which he encouraged his followers to place "a cheeky £10" on team mate Emmanuel Frimpong to score first in Arsenal's match against Olymiakos at odds of 150/1. Arsenal ended up losing the game 3-1 and Frimpong did not score.