Red and Blacks, Armenian players dismiss match fixing claims

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 4, 2015 00:00

Red and Blacks, Armenian players dismiss match fixing claims

Story Highlights

  • Armenian players reject claims by their federation’s head that they did not give their best in game against Albania

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TIRANA, Dec. 1 – The head of Albania’s Football Federation has dismissed claims of match-fixing in the country’s 3-0 win against Armenia, the last hurdle before the Red and Blacks qualified for the Euro 2016 Championship Finals.

“We are preparing for our best possible performance in France. Let the desperate (teams) make their own analyses,” Federation President Armand Duka said.

Duka was responding to claims made last week by Ruben Hayrapetian, his Armenian counterpart, that he believed the match played last month at in Yerevan had been fixed.

Hayrapetian accused a number of Armenian national team players of “treason” but did not name them. He also only referred to “rumours” that they had sold the match, backtracking even further in later comments.

The draw for the June 10-July 10 Euro 2016 tournament in France will be held in Paris on Dec. 12.

The 0-3 defeat that allowed Albania to qualify for the Euro 2016 finals – for the first time in its history – sealed a terrible qualifying campaign for the Armenian team and raised questions about their performance in that particular match.

“Our national team players simply do not want to play. As for the match against Albania, there was a betrayal during it. If even the best coach had headed our team during the match against Albania, the result would have been the same,” Hayrapetian said.

However, the Armenian official did not explicitly speak about “match fixing,” while also alleging reluctant player attitudes, but his remarks implying some sort of foul play sparked an international scandal involving Denmark, the nation that missed on direct qualification due to Armenia’s 0-3 home defeat to Albania.

But Armenian players responded publicly by denying any such claims.

Armenia’s leading soccer publication and news website published on Sunday a letter signed by nine members of the national team, including Borussia Dortmund’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Spartak Moscow’s Yura Movsisyan and Aras Ozbiliz, as well as Robert Arzumanyan, Marcos Pizzelli, Gevorg Ghazaryan, Gevorg Kasparov, Karlen Mkrtchyan and Hrair Mkoyan, in which they ruled out any possibility of the match being fixed.

“The commentaries and news around the Albania game are totally false. We have total confidence in each player of the squad. Looking for betrayal in our national team will not yield any result,” the letter said.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 4, 2015 00:00