• Ex-captain alleges opposing teams were also involved
• Francis Benali says he had no knowledge of such behaviour
Fifa will investigate the spot-fixing claims of Claus Lundekvam, the former Southampton defender who has claimed that he, his Saints team-mates and opposing captains were involved in the betting fraud. The 39-year-old Norwegian has said players would deliberately manipulate set pieces such as corners and throw-ins. A statement from the world governing body said: "Fifa is monitoring this issue and involved its chief investigator in England. Once all information is known it will be decided who is leading the investigations."
Lundekvam told the Norwegian TV station NRK: "It's not something I'm proud of. For a while we did this almost every week. We made a fair bit of money. We could make deals with the opposing captain about, for example, betting on the first throw, the first corner, who started with the ball, a yellow card or a penalty. Those were the sorts of thing we had influence over."
Lundekvam, though, denied that the result of a match was ever fixed. "The results were never on the agenda. That is something I would never have done," he said. "Even though what we did, of course, was illegal, it was just a fun thing."
In a 12-year spell at Southampton that ended in 2008, Lundekvam was made captain and made more than 400 league appearances. However, Francis Benali, a team-mate of eight years and another former Southampton captain, rejected the Norwegian's claims and suggested he has "personal problems".
Benali told BBC Solent: "I can say categorically I have no knowledge of the betting allegations made by Claus. Dressing rooms are very tight environments and if something was widespread, even if you weren't part of it, you would hear it being discussed and talked about. I'm aware of the revelations and I'm very surprised in many ways. I wasn't aware of it going on in the past so I certainly don't know of it going on now.
"It is widely known Claus has had quite a few personal problems in recent times and I wonder if that is why he has come out with this story. The way it has come across, it's like all of us were at it and all in on the betting scam and everyone had knowledge of it. That wasn't the case.
"That is why this all comes as such a surprise. The timing isn't good from the football club's point of view. No club wants a story like this associated with them, nor do the city or the players involved at the time. It's a smear on your character and not nice, especially when it's not true."
Matt Le Tissier, the former Southampton midfielder, admitted in 2009 that he had once been involved in a failed spot-fixing coup. He moved to distance himself from the new claims in a tweet that said: "aside from the 1 incident mentioned in my book ive never been involved in any betting scams and had no idea of claus lundekvams claims."
Le Tissier admitted betting on the timing of a first throw-in and attempting to kick the ball out of play in a proposed scam in a match against Wimbledon in 1995, the year before Lundekvam joined Southamption. Speaking three years ago, Le Tissier said: "I've put it in there [his book] more as a warning for other people, saying 'don't be so stupid and get involved in that'. It wasn't something I was particularly proud of but it was something that happened." Read More
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