Laudrup stirs up controversy with match-fixing claim

While the Swansea City coach believes players guilty of being paid to lose should be banned from the game for life, paying someone to win isn’t a problem

Danish football legend Michael Laudrup has made a dazzling start to his Premier League managerial career with Swansea City, thrilling fans and pundits alike with his attacking brand of football.

But yesterday, Laudrup created a buzz of a different kind when he suggested it was okay to give another team a financial incentive for winning.

"If Swansea play the last game against a team and a third team pays Swansea to win the game, I really don't see anything bad about that,” Laudrup said according to BBC News. “For me, match-fixing is when somebody pays someone to lose a game.”

Laudrup’s remarks came as he was asked about match-fixing at a news conference. Match-fixing has been a prevalent issue in European football as of late, particularly in Italy, where more than a dozen clubs are currently under investigation. The scandal is the third major one to rock the country in 32 years following Calcio Gate in 2006, which saw Juventus relegated, and Totonero in 1980 – in both cases Italy went on to win the next World Cup!

Laudrup played in Italy with Juventus and Lazio between 1983 and 1989 before moving on to Barcelona in Spain.

Laudrup said that players guilty of being paid to lose should be banned from the game for life, but he did not have a problem with the ‘suitcase’ culture in Spain where teams pay other teams to beat their league rivals.

“It's just a bonus. For me, match-fixing is somebody paying someone to lose a game," Laudrup said. “In Spain where there's one or two matches left in a season, we always talked about the suitcases. But the suitcases are to win. I don't see anything bad about that. I think we have to define very well what is match-fixing because there's different levels, I think.”

Laudrup became familiar with the ‘suitcase’ process during his playing years with Barcelona and Real Madrid. More recently, he has also coached Getafe and Real Mallorca.

Neither Football Association nor Premier League spokesmen commented on Laudrup’s admission, but both bodies' laws clearly state that accepting or giving money to influence the outcome of a match is unlawful.