The ugly head of match-fixing has reared itself once more, this time in the fourth tier of Spanish football. The Policia Nacional in Spain published a press release this Tuesday explaining that 10 players in the Segunda and Tercera RFEF, the fourth and fifth tiers of Spanish football respectively, have been arrested in connection with match-fixing.
El Pais covered the story, while Mundo Deportivo allege that the arrests were made across the South and West of Spain, in Badajoz, Sevilla, Almería y Cádiz and Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz). The latter were from the club Atletico Sanluqeuno, who have condemned any action that goes against the spirit of the sport or club.
The operation, denominated Operation Conifera [conifer], involved not only the Spanish police but also Europol and Interpol. According to the report, players were instructed to ensure that results went a certain way, at which point large bets were placed and the players in question rewarded with some of the profits.
This is the first high-profile incidence of match-fixing in Spanish football since 2014, when Xavi Torres and Antonio Amaya were handed sentences for accepting money to influence results while at Real Betis, as per Deutsche Welle. No more details are available, but as always with criminal enterprise, there is always the fear that only the tip of the iceberg makes it into the public eye.