The scandal over bribes in football is growing, MF Dnes reports in today’s edition. Seeing as I started translating these well-written MFD articles, I’ll keep at it. It’s an interesting story to follow:
Prague – The biggest corruption scandal in the history of Czech football is growing. Police yesterday charged Chief Referee VÃ¡clav Zejda with accepting a CZK 120,000 (USD $4,534) for influencing the match in the 15th league round between Synot and BlÅ¡any, in which Synot won 3:1.
It is now clear that the fairness of the highest [football] competition, and tens of thousands of fans who regularly go to the stadiums, may feel defrauded.
It is not clear whether BanÃk Ostrava, whose fans powerfully celebrated over the weekend, will be the league champion.
“Yes, more charges have been issued and it is again corruption,” confirmed Milan Å iÅ¡ka, deputy director of police anti-corruption services. It is only four days after another referee, Stanislav HruÅ¡ka, was charged in a different match. Police charge him with accepting a bribe of CZK 175,000 (USD $6,614).
Both cases are connected by Synot manager Jaroslav HastÃk, who handed over the bribes.
“Zejda has essentially confessed that he was caught up in it,” said Football Association Chairman Jan Obst. “He has already received a summons to police interrogation.
He has admitted contact with Synot’s HastÃk, whom he allegedly met in the underground garage at Carrefour in Prague after the match at BlÅ¡any,” he specified. Obst was dumbfounded at the new case. “The shocks continue,” he said.
The bad news is far from over for Czech football and for the highest championship in the land. It is highly probable that police are preparing for further steps.
“I can’t rule out further charges,” deputy Å iÅ¡ka said.
Zejda, the accused referee, has not commented on advice of his attorney. [Synot] manager HastÃk – who was still defending himself in the first case Monday by saying it was a plot [against Synot] – stepped down yesterday.
According to available information, police have very strong evidence in their hands. Recordings of mobile phone conversations exist between HastÃk and Zejda, in which they agree on bribes.
Deputy Å iÅ¡ka confirmed that the [Synot] football official wanted to influence matches to improve his team’s standings. The other investigation version is that the bribes are connected to machinations in betting offices.
Prime Minister VladimÃr Å pidla supported the police. “I’m glad they have boldly intervened in football corruption, which has been talked about a long time,” the Prime Minister told MF Dnes.