Israel police question FA chairman in fixing probe

JERUSALEM Mon Jan 9, 2012 8:45am IST

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel Football Association chairman Avi Luzon was questioned by police under caution on Sunday on possible involvement in an alleged match fixing probe, police said.

"Luzon was questioned under caution for eight hours by the fraud unit in connection with an ongoing investigation into alleged match fixing and interfering in the placement of officials," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

The interrogation came several months after police opened a broad match-fixing inquiry that has included the questioning of a number of club functionaries, mainly from Premier League Hapoel Petah Tikva, and match officials.

Luzon, 56, who serves as an executive committee member of European soccer's governing body, UEFA, was also one of those questioned in the previous round but as a witness.

Rosenfeld added that the suspicions against Luzon related to issues of fraud and breach of trust.

The Israeli FA issued a statement saying Luzon had "cooperated fully with the police so that it could complete its task in the best possible way and finish it's investigation swiftly."

But it requested that police carry out inquiries "with consideration in order to prevent public harm ... which can be very difficult to repair."

Ori Shilo, the chief executive of the Israeli FA said in a television interview that Luzon did not intend to suspend himself and would continue working.

"The work of the chairman will continue ... not every person who is questioned and required to give answers needs to suspend himself and stop working," Shilo told Channel 5.

Israel has seen at last one major match-fixing affair in recent years. An investigation begun in 2002 ended with the jailing of six men -- three in 2006 and three in 2007 -- for their involvement in match fixing in 1999 and 2000.

(Writing by Ori Lewis, editing by Alan Baldwin)

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