By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger has called for a life ban on any footballer caught accepting bribes to throw a game.

The issue raised its ugly head on Friday after the morning's newspapers alleged a former Premier League player had a £50,000 gambling debt written off in return for getting himself dismissed in a game. He also persuaded three of his team-mates to make sure they were booked.

Match-fixing is of grave concern to Wenger. His Monaco side suffered at the hands of Marseilles' shady dealing in the 1990s. So it was no surprise to see him come down hard on this issue in his pre-match press conference.

"For any single case that you find, you have to ban for life," he said. "It does leave a bad taste in the mouth, it's a shock.

"I have personal experience of [match-fixing] but not for gambling, for corruption. I am surprised by the news like you and you wouldn't like to compromise with this. Match-fixing is horrible. I never could believe that it could happen here.

"Betting is part of the culture [in England] but it didn't stop this country have rather clean leagues until now. So I don't think it is down to a question of the culture. Historically in England [betting] always existed and I feel this League is fair. Until now I never had a feeling it was not.

"If that is proven that the guy has sold the game for £50,000 it is a big surprise to me. But really I think it is a one-off."

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Richard Clarke 4 Apr 2008