Russian football team bribed ref: Norway player

Former Zenit Saint Petersburg defender Erik Hagen said on Wednesday that he had paid a referee to fix a UEFA Cup match during his time at the Russian team.

Russian football team bribed ref: Norway player
FC Sevilla's Javier Saviola (L) vies with Erik Hagen (R) of Russian Zenit Saint-Petersburg in 2005. Photo: Yuri Kadobnov/AFP
The 38-year old Norwegian footballer said it was customary to pay for match-fixing and he and his teammates each paid a referee $3,000 (2,180 euros)
to secure the outcome of a UEFA Cup match between 2005 and 2008.
In return he said each of them received a $12,000 bonus.
"I can't remember which match it was … I asked 'what's going on' and they just said 'You got to get used to this because that's how it is'," he told Norwegian daily VG.
Asked whether he had brought the issue to the attention of UEFA he said he would "tell them the same thing if they ring me".
"Someone has to be the first to do this," he said. "There are lots of rumours about corruption in international football."
Later Hagen has told Russia's ITAR-TASS news agency by phone that the match that he was talking about was Zenit's UEFA Cup group stage encounter with the Portuguese team Vitoria Guimaraes and Zenit had won it 2-1.
In October 2005 Zenit beat them in the UEFA Cup clash, which was officiated by the referee Dejan Delevic of Serbia and Montenegro.
"What evidence do I have?" Hagen told ITAR-TASS. "After the match the atmosphere in the dressing room was a bit strange, not like after the regular victory.
"Who exactly paid the referee? All the players paid a bit. I think there was a team meeting where this decision was taken. Unfortunately I don't know Russian and didn't understand anything of what has been said at that meeting."
Meanwhile, Zenit denied the allegations completely. "We are deeply astonished by the statement of Erik Hagen," a spokesman foe the Russian team, Evgueny Gusev told the state news agency RIA Novosti.
"Zenit has always followed and follows the principles of fair play and proves its worth only on the football field."

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Nordic countries to launch joint bid to host 2027 World Cup

Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland want to jointly host the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2027.

Nordic countries to launch joint bid to host 2027 World Cup
Sweden players during this year's World Cup in France. Photo: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The five Nordic nations want to share hosting duties for the 2027 edition of the World Cup finals and are to present the idea to the Nordic Council at a meeting in Stockholm on Tuesday, Danish football association DBU has confirmed.

FIFA is already positively disposed to joint bids for future finals tournaments, which has lent encouragement to the Nordic project, according to DBU's chairman Jesper Møller.

“We can see that support for women's football is here to stay, most recently at the (2019) World Cup in France, where matches were played in front of full stadiums and television viewers' interest was huge,” Møller said.

“A joint Nordic World Cup would not only ensure a fantastic experience for many football fans but will also strengthen important Nordic partnerships and community, and hopefully inspire many football-keen women and girls,” he continued.

“That's why support from the Nordic Council is important,” he added.

The Nordic Council (Nordisk Råd) is the official body for inter-parliamentary co-operation among the five Nordic countries and three territories of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and the Åland Islands.

DBU is also looking into the possibility of hosting the 2025 European Championships in Denmark.