French football is under fire after the presidents of two football clubs were arrested on allegations of match fixing.
Jean-François Fortin, the president of Ligue 1 club Caen, and Jean-Marc Conrad, the president of Ligue 2 outfit Nimes were both arrested by French police after allegations that the club’s May 13, 2014 match – a 1-1 draw – was manipulated to ensure that Nimes wouldn’t be relegated to the Championnat National.
According to French newspaper L’Equipe, the Caen-Nimes match were arranged to end in a draw as early as two days before the actual match. A “draw” result would’ve ensured Nimes’ stay at Ligue 2 without compromising Caen’s promotion to Ligue 1.
Ligue de Football Professionnel President Frederic Thiriez issued a statement, essentially spelling out a doomsday scenario for both clubs, including their two presidents.
“I can confirm that, at the behest of judges Tournaire and Robert in Paris, a number of raids were effected by the SCCJ (France’s police task force for racing and gambling) yesterday and this morning, with several people taken into custody amidst suspicion of match fixing in Ligue 2 last season,” Thiriez said.
“Should these allegations of corruption, match fixing and illegal betting – or even simply attempts to engage in such activity – are proven, the LFP and its agents will mete out disciplinary or administrative sanctions, either collectively or individually, with the firmest of hands.”
Thiriez also pointed out that sanctions could go as far as exclusion from the league for both clubs. That would be a blow to a Caen side that had just returned to Ligue 1 for the first time since 2012.
If both teams want a potential preview of what type of punishment they could receive if these allegations are proven, they only need to go back to 1994 when then First Division and Champions League champion Olympique de Marseille was relegated to Ligue 2 after similar match fixing allegations.
If that could happen to the best team in Europe in that time, you can bet that the severity of the punishments Caen and Nimes could receive would be a lot harsher.