French Handball Team Accused of Throwing Matches
Handball players from Montpellier have appeared in court accused of betting against themselves then deliberately losing the game.
If it is found that they have bet on their own games then they will face internal sanctions of €15,000 of fines and suspension for six months.
However, if they are found to have deliberately thrown the match they could face up to five years in prison and €75,000 fines.
The world of French handball has been shocked by the affair as the Montpellier team are considered one of the best, several times French champions and one time European champions.
In total there are nine players involved and another nine people close to them. The bets amounted to €87,000 and brought in winnings of €252,880.
They were nearly all based on Montpellier losing by half-time. Each bet was placed with €100 cash in three different bookmakers.
According to the prosecutor, journalists and trainers noticed the team playing very badly in a match against Cesson-Sévigné. At that point in the season Montpellier were guaranteed French champions even if they lost a game, making it an ideal match to lose.
The investigation was triggered by the unusually high amounts bet on the match.