Posted: Tuesday May 17, 2011 4:19PM ; Updated: Tuesday May 17, 2011 4:19PM

Report: Ex-referee makes fix claims in Argentina

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- A former referee has repeated his claim that football in Argentina is riddled with corruption, telling a newspaper that clubs pay money to buy championships and fix promotion spots.

Javier Ruiz, a referee until 2010, was quoted as saying in Tuesday's edition of Libre that he was involved in several cases himself and has proof.

"There are even referees who charge at halftime. This is big business,'' said Ruiz, who first made corruption claims last year.

Ruiz cited Boca Juniors' 2008 championship and the promotion to the top flight by San Martin de Tucuman in 2008 and Chacarita Juniors in 2009 as examples of fixing.

Ruiz also said River Plate's current problems battling relegation are the result of former directors promising to pay officials and not delivering.

"Why do you think River is fighting the drop?'' he told Libre. "If you don't pay (the referees) they are capable of stopping you pass the halfway line.''

The 43-year-old Ruiz, who said he left the job voluntarily, nominated "four or five'' referees currently in action as having fixed games.

None of the clubs or individuals mentioned have commented.

Guillermo Marconi, head of Argentina's referees' union, told the C5N news channel that an investigation should be opened.

"The situation should not be disregarded,'' Marconi said. "Just as there are corrupt doctors, lawyers, accountants, public figures and journalists, there are also referees.''

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
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