LA HAYA, Holanda (AP) — Una amplia investigación sobre arreglos de resultados de partidos de fútbol ha descubierto más de 680 encuentros sospechosos —incluso clasificatorios para la Copa Mundial y la Eurocopa y dos de la Liga de Campeones— y halló evidencias de que una organización delictiva con sede en Singapur está profundamente involucrada en dichos arreglos ilegales, anunció Europol el lunes.

La investigación de Europol, la agencia policial de la Unión Europea, halló 380 partidos con resultados sospechosos en Europa y otros 300 cuestionables fuera del continente, principalmente en Africa, Asia, Sur y Centroamérica.

"Este es un día triste para el fútbol europeo", afirmó Rob Wainwright, titular de Europol, en una conferencia de prensa. Agregó que los delincuentes están aprovechando la corrupción en el fútbol "en una escala y un modo que amenaza las mismas bases del juego".

Europol se negó a nombrar sospechosos, jugadores, clubes o dirigentes involucrados para no perjudicar la investigación todavía en curso.

La investigación descubrió 8 millones de euros (11 millones de dólares) en ganancias por apuestas y 2 millones de euros (2,7 millones de dólares) en soborno a futbolistas y dirigentes que ya ha conducido a varias instrucciones de cargos.

Esas cifras de dinero son muy inferiores a lo que muchos calculan que se mueve en los arreglos de partidos y apuestas, pero los fiscales dijeron que las cifras anunciadas son las que han podido comprobar específicamente por medio de revisión de documentos, registros telefónicos y de computadoras.

"Esta es la punta del témpano", señaló Friedhelm Althans, un investigador alemán.

Investigadores de Europol analizaron 13.000 mensajes de correo electrónico y otras pruebas e identificaron a 425 futbolistas, delincuentes, dirigentes y personal de clubes que se sospecha han estado manipulando resultados desde hace años.

Wainwright agregó que la participación del hampa "pone de manifiesto un gran problema para la integridad del fútbol en Europa".

Dijo que una organización delictiva con sede en Singapur estaba involucrada en el arreglo de partidos y que invertía hasta 100.000 euros (137.000 dólares) por partido para sobornar a futbolistas y dirigentes.

Wainwright indicó que, aunque muchos partidos arreglados ya eran conocidos a causa de juicios en Europa, la investigación de Europol que comenzó en julio del 2011 reveló la participación del hampa.

"Esta es la primera vez que hemos establecido evidencias sustanciales de que el hampa está operando ahora en el mundo del fútbol", advirtió.

La naturaleza de las organizaciones delictivas dificulta su rastreo y juicio. Europol dijo que un solo partido arreglado podía involucrar hasta a 50 sospechosos en diez países.

Europol dijo en una declaración que el grupo delictivo que operaba en la mayor parte de los arreglos de partidos tomaba apuestas principalmente en Asia.

"Los jefes de las bandas son de origen asiático y trabajan en estrecho contacto con facilitadores europeos", dijo Europol, pero agregó que también estaban involucradas otras bandas delictivas, entre ellas "de habla rusa".

Wainwright agregó que el fútbol internacional necesita un "esfuerzo concertado" para liquidar la corrupción. Agregó que enviará los resultados de la investigación al presidente de la UEFA, Michel Platini.

La UEFA, que dirige el fútbol europeo y organiza la Liga de Campeones, pareció sorprendida por el alcance de las acusaciones de Europol. Dijo que esperaba más informaciones sobre la investigación.

"Una vez que los detalles de estas investigaciones estén en manos de la UEFA serán revisados por los organismos disciplinarios adecuados para determinar las medidas necesarias", dijo la UEFA en una declaración.

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