LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The acquittal of three football players in Switzerland in a match-fixing case was an "own goal by Swiss justice," FIFA President Sepp Blatter said Wednesday.
Switzerland's Football Association backed Blatter's criticism, saying the country "desperately needs" to update its criminal code after the players were cleared by a federal court Tuesday.
The Swiss League players were prosecuted for swindling linked to betting on second-tier matches played in 2009 following an international investigation led from Bochum, Germany.
Goalkeeper Darko Damjanovic, who allegedly recruited players for a Croatian crime syndicate, was suspended indefinitely by the Swiss FA in 2010.
However, a judge acquitted Damjanovic and two others Tuesday, saying there was no obvious victim of bets placed online.
"Own goal by Swiss justice: irritating verdicts of not guilty in context of betting manipulation," Blatter wrote on his Twitter account.
Swiss football officials called for a national law against sporting fraud to be passed.
"The Swiss law needs desperately the so-called 'criminal fraud' (offense) unless we want to go with decisions like the one from yesterday," SFA spokesman Marco von Ah said in an email to The Associated Press.
A draft law could be published next year as Switzerland seeks to catch up with countries which already prohibit match-fixing.