UEFA have alerted French authorities that PSG’s recent 6-1 victory over Red Star Belgrade in the Champions’ League was match-fixed, according to our colleagues at L’Équipe.
A Serbian representative is understood to have bet €5m on the Serbian side losing by 5 goals.
The game took place on the 3rd of October at the Parc des Princes, in a match played out with a heavy riot police presence, with substantial fears regarding fan violence. Other policemen were present, but in more discreet fashion, and were focusing solely on what was going on, on the pitch.
Several days prior to the game, UEFA alerted the relevant French authorities to a possible case of match-fixing in the Champions’ League. At Nyon, only UEFA President Aleksandr Ceferin and his close colleagues were aware.
The scheme was alleged to work as follows: a Red Star Belgrade representative, with accomplices, would bet just under €5m on the Serbian side losing by 5 goals, on multiple websites with a variety of amounts of cash in order not to raise suspicion.
The desired gain: several tens of millions of Euros. In order to ensure that the scheme worked, the Red Star representative is understood to have read in several of the Red Star Belgrade starting XI into the plan.
The informant who brought this information to UEFA and subsequently the French authorities also stated the the supposed corrupt Red Star representative and mastermind of the match-fixing was due to meet with PSG President Nasser Al Khelaifi before the match.
The French authorities decided to open an investigation the day before the game and took these claims very seriously. In the end, the location given to police by the informant for this alleged meeting between Al Khelaifi and the Red Star representative was fruitless – neither individual turned up.
Police watched the game, to see if the 5-goal cushion for PSG would be achieved. It was, Les Parisiens ran out 6-1 winners. To the football fan’s eye, a 6-1 win for Neymar and Kylian Mbappé’s PSG over Red Star did not raise any eyebrows – but the French police feared the worst.
Policemen hired a football expert to judge and scrutinise the Red Star players’ attitude and performance levels, and this individual submitted a report following the game noting some of the Red Star players’ unusual, utter passiveness throughout the fixture.
The investigation continued post-match: the informant had told UEFA that the Red Star Belgrade representative intended to pick up his winnings from the bet in question, that he personally invested into the scheme (€3m out of €5m), after the game at a location in Paris. French authorities were informed of this new information too late, and missed the alleged exchange.
Contacted by L’Équipe, Red Star Belgrade President Dragan Dzajic laughed off their claims: “You are the first to tell me about this. I know absolutely nothing about this. This is not possible, this is not true.”
At the moment, only strong suspicions, no material evidence, but troubling nevertheless.