Sackings and arrests in Finnish football scandal

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The Finnish police arrested another 4 players from the Finnish football club, Rovaniemen Palloseura (ROPS) this week. That brings the total to 11, of whom no fewer than nine are Rovaniemen Palloseura players. All the players concerned come from outside Finland, mostly from Zambia and have now been sacked by their club.

The players arrested this week are Francis Kombe, Stephen Kunda, Godfrey Chibanga from Zambia and Georgian, Valter Khorguashvili. The scandal was publicized earlier in the Finnish media when the Zambian Christopher Musonda was arrested. He is thought to have "arranged" the outcome of several matches, with or without the order from the Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, who is wanted in his homeland for such practices and was arrested in Finland with false papers.

The Finnish Football Federation is convinced that there are two major international gambling syndicates with roots in Asia behind the match fixing. The matches which are being investigated are spread across the previous season's first division competition, a match in the current league and cup competition.

It is not the first time that Finnish football has had to deal with a betting scandal. In 2006, there was much commotion around the club, Alliansi, when the Chinese president of the club, Ye Zheyun, witnessed an 8-0 defeat against FC Haka in order to generate big profits in the gambling circles. Ye also had contacts in Belgium, where the scandal received even greater attention than in Finland.

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