A couple of nights ago, I happened to catch TV Nova’s report showing football referee Stanislav HruÅ¡ka together with Synot football club sports manager Jaroslav Hastík at a gas station.

Surveillance camera shots are always weird to watch – they remind me of the opening of the excellent B-movie horror/sci-fi movie “The Hidden” – but Nova got footage from the gas station owner, and in it you could clearly see the two together clearly, as well as the undercover police who caught the two red-handed.

This story appeared in Today’s MF Dnes, and the translation is mine:

Football: Bribes related to betting?

Police are convinced that winnings in betting offices are behind the corruption of Jaroslav Hastíka, sports director for the Synot football club, and First League referee Stanislav Hruška.

Trustworthy police sources told this to MF Dnes, and it was confirmed by the Milan Å iÅ¡ka, assistant director of the police anti-corruption service. “It’s one of our versions. We can’t admit it,” Å iÅ¡ka said.

Both men were charged Friday night into Saturday mornign, when they were caught at a gas station in VyÅ¡kov with CZK175,000 (USD $6,555) in cash for bribes. According to police, Hastík was to bribe HruÅ¡ka for the March match between Sparta and Synot, in which the team from Uherské HradiÅ¡tě won 2:0.

What’s interesting is that the bets would have made profits for the betting office, not the bettors. The investigation is heading toward Synot-tip, Synot’s betting office.

Club chief Ivo Valenta denies any doubts about betting irregularities. “We have not noted any suspicious circumstances,” he announced.

Hastík denies suspicions of corruptions. According to him, this is a crackdown against Synot. “There are a lot of unclear things. I carried a lot more money, but they were interested just in this 175 thousand. I don’t understand. I’m going to file a complaint with the police,” he said.

Police spokeswoman Blanka Kosinová said that it is not a plot, but rather a targeted action against corruption. “The police have enough evidence,” she said. Police sources say this especially pertains to wiretaps of Hastík and HruÅ¡ka.

UPDATE 22:43 04052004: ČTK reports that Hastík has resigned his post at Synot, and will not return unless completely exonerated.

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