Five former directors of La Liga club Osasuna and two ex-Real Betis footballers have been handed prison sentences after being found guilty on a series of corruption charges including match-fixing in Spanish top-flight.
Former Betis players, Antonio Amaya and Xavi Torres were handed prison sentences of one year each for sporting corruption. The fling also said this was the first time any convictions had been made in Spain for sporting corruption.
According to prosecutors, Amaya and Torres were found to have accepted money to influence matches for Osasuna’s benefit at the end of the 2013-14 season when Osasuna were unsuccessfully battling relegation.
Osasuna’s former managing director Angel Vizcay was given the heaviest prison sentence, of eight years and eight months, for charges including misappropriation of funds, falsification of accounts and sporting corruption. He was jailed alongside four other directors.
Two real estate agents were also convicted for falsifying documents and were given prison sentences of nine months.
The court filing said it had been proved that the Osasuna directors agreed to pay Amaya and Torres a total of €650,000 to incentivize them to help Betis beat Real Valladolid in the penultimate match of the 2013/14 season and to lose their final game of the campaign against Osasuna.
Betis, who had already been relegated and finished bottom of the table, beat Valladolid 4-3 while Osasuna won 2-1 against Betis but were still relegated.
The two real estate agents were convicted for falsifying documents to help Osasuna balance the books for the 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons.
Vizcay and the other jailed Osasuna directors were also ordered to reimburse the club €2,340,000 for the misuse of funds during the 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons.
Reacting to the sentence, Osasuna president Luis Sabalza said he was pleased and reiterated that his club had denounced the previous administration.
“We are happy. Osasuna were the ones who brought this case to the courts because when we arrived at the club we saw things which we didn’t like and I think the suspicions we had have been confirmed and the courts have done their job,” he said in a statement on the club website.
La Liga also welcomed the convictions. “This sentence strengthens La Liga’s fight against corruption and its bid to defend the integrity of football competitions against any attempts of interference be it altering the course of a season or the result of a match,” said a statement from the organisation.