Current Affairs Czech FA suspends investigation of alleged corruption in Plzeň game
The Czech Football Association has suspended an investigation into a dispute that began four months ago, when Sparta Prague accused Viktoria Plzeň, at present its chief rival, of having bribed referees to influence a game. On Wednesday, the FA decided to wait for the results of a police investigation into the case before it takes a position. It has also said that it will no longer carry out its own inquiries into any such cases and will refer them to the police. I spoke to a reporter from the daily Sport, Pavel Kalouš, about the latest development in the case.
“I think they have decided to postpone the investigation because they want to wait for the results of an official police investigation into the case. They are probably worried about what would happen if they decided to penalize the clubs – Plzeň for corruption or Sparta for falsely accusing them – and a few months later, the police would arrive at a different conclusion. That might result in a court case.
“But the fact is the chairman of the FA’s disciplinary commission, Jiří Golda, has stepped down in protest against the decision which he said meant that the corruption case would not be closed and the FA didn’t want to solve in the first place. I understand his point and I think he’s probably right because there is a strong possibility that even the police will not be able to find out whether there was corruption involved in the match.”
So has the FA in fact cleared Plzeň of the accusation on one hand, and Sparta of false testimony?
“Not officially. They did everything to make it clear that the investigation did not end and was only postponed. But I think that in effect, both Plzeň and Sparta will probably avoid penalization. I don’t think the police will be able to find evidence strong enough to say that Plzeň was involved in corruption.”
“It means that in the future, if anything linked to corruption happens, the disciplinary board of the FA will not carry out their own investigations and the association will rely on the police. I think it sounds reasonable. On the other hand, the problem is that the police are overwhelmed by corruption cases from politics and business, and football cases are not that important for them. So I think the message to the football family in fact is, ‘you don’t have to worry too much because if something happens, it will take years to investigate.’”