A series of arrests had been made over alleged “active corruption in sports”, local police said in a statement as part of an operation they called “Cashball”, Reuters reported.
While the police did not name the club in question, local media showed the police actively working at the Lisbon team’s Alvalade Stadium and reported that several officials from the club were under suspicion of attempting to ‘fix’ the scores of games of handball and football matches by offering financial incentives to referees and players.
Andre Geraldes, a key ally of Sporting president Bruno de Carvalho, was among those detained by the police. Three others linked to the club were also arrested.
News of the scandal came just hours following an incident in which a gang of Sporting fans, armed with bats and belts, stormed the club’s training ground following their failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League. 21 people have since been arrested.
Several players and staff-members, including Dutch international Bas Dost, were injured in the attack – the latest in a long line of scandals to hit the club this season.
Matters were already tense at Sporting this season. Following a Europa League game earlier this season, de Carvalho threatened to suspend 19 members of the first-team squad following what he deemed to be a poor performance.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the President of Portugal, has lashed out at the scandals which have plagued Portuguese football recently, saying: “Faced with the gravity of what happened we have to understand that this climate that has been created over some time… cannot and should not continue, because this escalation will destroy Portuguese football, marring it on the international arena and here inside. It’s time to stop the escalation.”