Bosnian police arrested 12 people on Monday, mostly referees, suspected of match-fixing in the Balkan country’s second division, a spokesman said.

The investigation is targeting officials and regional football association executives, the prosecutors added in a statement.

“Within this operation we arrested twelve people, suspected of organised crime and abuse of power,” a police spokesman told AFP.

Homes of several suspects were searched in the north-eastern towns of Samac and Orasje, and in Novi Travnik, in central Bosnia, spokesman Luka Miladinovic added.

They are “suspected of demanding and receiving, during 2019, gifts and other forms of benefits, to fix the results of certain matches” played in Bosnia’s Muslim-Croat half, the statement said.

The suspects were predominantly receiving cash but the amounts were not revealed.

Bosnia has one national league while the two cultural entities that have made up the country since the 1990s war – the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Serbs’ Republika Srpska – each have their own league.

The dozen suspects will be handed over to prosecutors who will decide on whether they will be remanded in custody, Miladinovic said.

Bosnia’s Football Federation hailed the operation and voiced regret over “huge damages” the affair caused to the country’s football reputation.

Source: AFP