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UEFA gives Malta player life ban for match-fixing

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 3, 2012 at 11:42 am •  Published: December 3, 2012

The plot was originally detailed last year during a criminal trial in Bochum, Germany, by Marijo Cvrtak, an associate of convicted match-fixer Ante Sapina.

Cvrtak claimed that he met three Malta players in their Oslo hotel who would arrange the fix.

Norway, then ranked No. 36 in FIFA's world rankings, was in contention to qualify for Euro 2008 and heavily favored to beat No. 117 Malta. Three late goals boosted payouts on potential bets such as how many goals would be scored and the margin of Malta's defeat.

Sammut's teammates, Kenneth Scicluna and Stephen Wellman, who both played the full 90 minutes, were also charged by UEFA but cleared.

UEFA declined to comment Monday on reports in Maltese media that the governing body used Cvrtak and Sapina as witnesses for its prosecution.

In the Bochum court, they were said to have made millions in betting profits by bribing referees, players and officials to help manipulate matches and results.

Cvrtak was found guilty in May 2011 on 26 counts of fraud and attempted fraud and sentenced to 5 1/2 years in jail. Sapina, who was previously jailed in a 2005 German refereeing scandal, received the same sentence.

Sammut is still listed as a squad member on the website of Malta's champion club Valletta. He was an unused substitute when Valletta was eliminated in the Champions League qualifying rounds in July by Serbian club Partizan Belgrade.

He signed a five-year deal with Valletta in 2009 after impressing with former club Marsaxlokk.

In the 2007-08 season, which began weeks after the alleged corruption in Norway, Malta league players voted Sammut as their player of the year.