Squad news


03 May 2013
All the eyes are upon Levante UD after internal disputes that were suggesting a possible lack of interest in the game lost against Deportivo (0-4), now the LFP and the public prosecutor´s office will investigate the case.

New scandal in la liga; last week it was known that José Javier Bakero accused four of his team mates at Levante UD for not given their best effort in the home meeting against Deportivo (0-4). The players in this short list were Ballesteros, Juanfran, Juanlu and ex-Depor goalie Gustavo Munúa.

The incident was reported by Radio Cadena Ser as they recorded a fight between Ballesteros and Bakero when the players were going into the changing room at half-time of the meeting played on   March 13. “I don’t want to take part of this game, This is fraud” Barkero said. Munúa was also involved in the fight as he asked: ”What are you insinuating?” Two days later after this game there was a meeting between the starters, Barkero and coach Juan Ignacio Martinez ‘JIM’ didn’t participate.

Curiously, Levante UD shown the same apathy in the following game against RC Celta, and this time Bakero was in the eye of the storm as he incomprehensibly missed a penalty that would have meant the equalizer in the game –his first miss on the season- a penalty that was also very doubtful as there were no contact between the players involved in the action.

Then, for the past game against Barca, coach JIM left both Munúa and Ballesteros out of the starting eleven. And on this week it was also known that Barkero asked his club to cancel the renewal of his contract for one more year. Neither Munúa wanted to renew his contract.

A new twist in this story occurred on Wednesday as Barkero offered a press conference in order to ask for apologies, ”I just want to say that I asked for apologies to my team mates before the training. I asked for apologies to all of them, especially to four of my partners, whom were accused of something that it isn’t true. I am the one that’s wrong, I was making accusations when nothing happened and I want to emphasize on this.” He said.

But it was too late, the new boss at the LFP, Javier Tebas, had already ordered a full investigation on this case. He was named president two weeks ago and in his first speech he promised to fight the match-fixing incidents, a taboo in Spain during past administrations. On Wednesday it was known that even the public prosecutor´s office is investigating the case.

And it’s that this isn’t the first time in which Levante UD are involved in this kind of cases; in 2007 the president of Levante was taped during a phone conversation with the captain of the team in which they admitted an ‘arrange’ in order to help Athletic Bilbao to clinch the permanence. No official investigation was made at the time.

In the latest case, beyond investigating Deportivo, the attention is focused in the players of Levante. It is feared that they could have bet against themselves in order to earn some money. In February Europol revealed that around 680 matches, including FIFA World Cup qualifiers and UEFA European Championship qualifiers and two Champions League games, had been fixed, allowing international gambling rings and criminal networks to net millions of euros a year, laundering money and corrupting football. There were no games in Spain included in this list of 680 matches.

In the meantime, Deportivo are trying to stay apart from this incident; on Wednesday, Riki commented that, ”We’ve enough problems to be worried by what others say. If we left the drop zone it was by our own effort. I’m careless about this incident.”

Coach Fernando Vázquez was upset as some people were pointing to Deportivo as the cause of the problem, “There were some declarations from one player. I read about it and, as a Deportivista, fell offended. It’s my feeling. Now we, the Deportivistas, have a clear conscious and don’t know how the conscience of Barkero is. The games can be explained in thousand ways and under our current situation I think is unthinkable that our players haven’t been paid and that later we have the resources to pay for weird stuff. “

One of the administrators at the club, Julio Fernández, was also criticizing the attitude of Barkero, ”Depor played a great game against Levante. Barkero should go to court and left behind the cowardice. Seeing Depor in their current situation, there’s no sense in the issue with Barkero.”

The Galician club hasn’t released yet any statement related to the issue, just a comment on Twitter and Facebook saying that “RC Deportivo La Coruña win their games on the field and not buying them.” In the meantime Levante UD’s officials were having an emergency meeting on Thursday’s night.



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