NELSPRUIT: Burkina Faso coach Paul Put, who was suspended in Belgium over match-fixing claims, today said that rigging games was more widespread than football realised, with top players implicated in the practice.
The Belgian told reporters on the eve of his side’s Africa Cup of Nations semi-final that he was not surprised to hear about revelations yesterday that European police had unearthed a criminal network targeting hundreds of matches.
Match-fixing has always existed in football, said Put, who was suspended for three years after being implicated in a rigging scandal while coach of Belgian first division side Lierse.
Put’s rare disclosure about his own brush with corruption which led him to leave Belgium for Africa, said he had been caught up in an epidemic that had spread across the national game.
His suspension led him to Africa, where he coached Gambia for two-and-a-half years before taking over the helm at Burkina Faso, and leading them to Wednesday’s semi-final against Ghana.