French newspaper L’Équipe has a report today that says the recent Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Red Star Belgrade is currently being investigated by UEFA and the French authorities for possibly being fixed.
The match in question—a PSG home game—took place on October 3 of this year. It was about as lopsided of an affair as one could imagine, and the final 6-1 scoreline could’ve easily been even more stark. Still, as one-sided as the game was, the result itself didn’t really arouse suspicion. PSG are PSG, with Neymar and Mbappé and Cavani and Di María and the rest, and Red Star are ... well, Red Star. The match was always likely to be a blowout.
As L’Équipe reports, it wasn’t the scoreline itself that made UEFA officials wonder if the game was on the up-and-up. A few days before the match, an informant tipped UEFA off to some curious gambling behavior on the part of a high-ranking Red Star official. The tipster claimed that this Red Star official had placed €5 million worth of bets that Red Star would lose to PSG by five goals. To ensure the result, the informant believed the official roped a few Red Star players into the scheme.
UEFA passed this information off to the relevant French authorities, who opened an investigation. L’Équipe report that the informant told police about a planned meeting between the allegedly shady Red Star official and the president of PSG the day before the match, but when the police attempted to spy on the meeting, they didn’t see or hear anything.
Neither France’s nor the international online gambling regulating authorities could spot any particularly odd bets in any of the official sports books they oversee, so they didn’t suspend gambling on the match. During the match, PSG were at one point winning, 5-0, only for a Red Star player to score a goal in the 74th minute to make it 5-1. About ten minutes from the end of the match, however, Neymar scored once again to seal the final five-goal victory.
Red Star denied L’Équipe’s report in a statement, which reads in part:
It is with the greatest anger and resentment that Red Star deny today’s report in the French newspaper L’Équipe in connection to doubts about the outcome of the Paris Saint-Germain-Red Star match and the involvement of anyone from Red Star in possible improper actions.
The allegations from this report can cause great damage to the reputation of our club, and therefore Red Star insists both Uefa and the competent investigating authorities in Serbia and France investigate these doubts to the end and come to the truth.
PSG also released a statement expressing the club’s “astonishment and indignation” at the allegations, and denying any knowledge or involvement in the purported fix. When contacted by L’Équipe, UEFA stated its policy that it does not comment on any match-fixing investigations until they are complete. French authorities, however, did admit that they are currently investigating the matter.