‘Match-fixing not a problem in England’

Arsene Wenger admits he is shocked by the extent of this week's match-fixing allegations - but he believes English football is "100 per cent" clean.

Europol began an inquiry into match-fixing 18 months ago and claim that 680 games across the world have been fixed, including one Champions League game in England.

Some 425 match officials, club officials, players and criminals are suspected of being involved, and the extent of the alleged corruption has taken Wenger by surprise.

"It was absolutely a surprise by the number of games that have been fixed," he said.

"I can’t accept it and I always was a believer that there’s a lot of cheating going on in our game and that we are not strong enough with what happens, nor with the doping, nor with the corruption of the referees, nor with the match fixing.

"I personally feel English football is clean of cheating 100 per cent"

Arsene Wenger

"It’s time that we tackle this problem in a very serious way and that people who cheat are punished in a very severe way as well. Sport is full of legends who are in fact cheats. We had a recent example again and we all have that responsibility to fight against that."

English football will come under scrutiny in the weeks and months to come but Wenger is convinced that his adopted country is less susceptible to match-fixing.

"I don’t think at all it’s a problem in the English game," he said. "That’s why it’s maybe a shock for us because we are convinced we live in a world in England where it’s not a perfect world but I don’t think cheating or match-fixing is a problem.

"In fairness I give you [reporters] some credit for that because the English media would be very harsh against that.

"I personally feel English football is clean of cheating 100 per cent," Wenger went on. "I don’t think referees are corrupt.

"It happened in Europe before, that is my belief, where referees were not always fair, especially in some countries. But you always have to be cautious, have your own beliefs, prove it, and that becomes more difficult."


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