Real Zaragoza and 41 individuals have been cleared of match-fixing charges by a Spanish court on Monday relating to a game eight years ago.
Zaragoza’s 2-1 win at Levante on 17 April 2011 helped save them from relegation with the match the subject of intense scrutiny from Spain’s anti-corruption authorities.
As outlined by Marca, among those cleared was current Leganes boss Javier Aguirre – then at Zaragoza – who always denied wrongdoing, but was dismissed by the Japan national team in 2015 for the implications of the investigation.
In 2018, the case as reopened after two years due to apparent new evidence emerging, with reports saying that a two-year prison sentence and six-year ban from football are likely punishments if found guilty.
43 individuals were involved in the investigation including former Atletico Madrid captain Gabi, midfielder Ander Herrera who is now at Paris Saint-Germain, River Plate's Leonardo Ponzio and midfielder Vicente Iborra.
Former Zaragoza president Agapito Iglesias and the club’s previous financial director, Javier Porquera, were handed 15 month prison sentences for falsifying documents – they fraudulently took €1.73m from the club’s accounts for bonus offers.
A sum just shy of €1m is reported to have been paid for the result with suspicious banking activity detected involving those involved with both clubs, while Levante’s accounts for the period were said to be ‘suspiciously low’.
This was the first ever court case investigating match-fixing in the top flight of Spanish football.