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Game-fixing investigated in World Cup tuneups

English authorities investigate possible match-fixing in lead-up to World Cup 2014
Britain's NCA, which investigates organized crime, and FIFA both decline to comment on report of match-fixing

Authorities in England are reportedly investigating allegations of attempted game-fixing involving a soccer friendly between Scotland and Nigeria to be played in London on Wednesday.

The website of the Daily Telegraph newspaper said Tuesday that officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) have asked FIFA, the governing body for world soccer, “to issue an alert over potential attempts to rig the game.”

The NCA, which investigates organized crime, and FIFA both declined to comment on the report.

Last year Europol investigators said an 18-month investigation had found evidence indicating that more than 680 soccer games around the world may have been fixed, among them a Champions League tie played in England.

An organized crime syndicate based in Asia was believed to be behind many of those matches.

The Telegraph reports there are growing fears that World Cup warm-up matches will be targeted by game fixers acting on behalf of other illegal betting syndicates in the Far East. In recent months, suspected attempts to fix games in the lower English soccer leagues has led to a series of arrests. There also have been allegations of illicit activity in cricket.

The game between Scotland and World Cup-bound Nigeria is part of a string of warm-up games ahead of the tournament in Brazil next month.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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