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Finnish league asks police to investigate 'fixed' match

Finnish soccer authorities have said they suspect a recent championship division match was fixed, and have handed over the case to police for further investigations.

The crisis began when champions Haka Valkeakoski beat last season's runners-up Allianssi Vantaa 8-0 on July 7 in a match which attracted far heavier betting than usual, mostly on the Asian markets.

Allianssi's new coach Thierry Pister gave debuts to nine players in the starting 11 for the game against Haka, his first match in charge, but he has denied any wrongdoing and told media he was unimpressed by the existing squad.

Before the match Allianssi had conceded just seven goals in their 11 previous league matches, and bookmakers Veikkaus paid out its highest ever return on a soccer match - winning punters made up to 8,787 times what they bet.

"There is reason to suspect that the visiting team in the Haka-Allianssi game did not try to win, but was defaming the sport," the league's licensing committee said in a statement.

The committee postponed a decision on whether to withdraw the licence of the club, who have recently been bought by a Chinese businessman, saying the organisation has until August 8 to give additional written explanations on the game and about the conditions surrounding the sale of the club.

It said it had found evidence of heavier betting than usual on the game, at least €1 million above normal levels, but would need to enlist the help of the police to see if any criminal activity had taken place.

"The development of odds on some lists was really unusual. Based on the development of odds we can say... it was clear for somebody," said the league's Chief Executive, Jan Walden, adding the bulk of the suspicious bets took place outside of Finland.

"We are asking the police to make enquiries that we can't make ourselves. They will have to move to the international level right away," he told Reuters.

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