(Reuters) - Five former directors of La Liga club Osasuna and two ex-Real Betis players have been handed prison sentences after being found guilty on a series of corruption charges, a Spanish court filing showed on Friday.
Osasuna’s former managing director Angel Vizcay was given the heaviest prison sentence, of eight years and eight months, for charges including misappropriation of funds, falsification of accounts and sporting corruption.
Former Betis players Antonio Amaya and Xavi Torres were handed prison sentences of one year each for sporting corruption, added the filing, which said this was the first time any convictions had been made in Spain for sporting corruption.
The sentences are subject to an appeal.
Osasuna president Luis Sabalza said he was pleased with the sentence and reiterated that his club had denounced the previous administration which led to them being convicted.
“We are happy. Osasuna were the ones who brought this case to the courts because when we arrived at the club we saw things which we didn’t like and I think the suspicions we had have been confirmed and the courts have done their job,” he said in a statement on the club website.
Betis meanwhile said they were “repulsed” by the actions of their two former players, who they said had “caused unfair damage to our club.
“As it has been proved, Real Betis had nothing to do with these lamentable actions,” added their statement.
“Real Betis has always played an active part in the fight against corruption in football and in favour of fair play, working hand in hand with La Liga and the other organisations that run our sport.”
La Liga also welcomed the convictions.
“This sentence strengthens La Liga’s fight against corruption and its bid to defend the integrity of football competitions against any attempts of interference be it altering the course of a season or the result of a match,” said a statement from the organisation.
The court filing said it had been proved that the Osasuna directors agreed to pay Amaya and Torres a total of 650,000 euros ($701,935.00) to incentivise them to help Betis beat Real Valladolid in the penultimate match of the 2013/14 season and to lose their final game of the campaign against Osasuna.
Betis, who had already been relegated and finished bottom of the table, beat Valladolid 4-3 while Osasuna won 2-1 against Betis but were still relegated.
Two real estate agents were also convicted for falsifying documents to help Osasuna balance the books for the 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons and were given prison sentences of nine months.
Vizcay and the other jailed Osasuna directors were also ordered to reimburse the club 2,340,000 euros for the misuse of funds during the 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons.
Reporting by Richard Martin, Editing by William Maclean and Ken Ferris