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Ukrainian football is facing a massive match-fixing scandal

Ukraine's Interior Minister has accused 35 of the nation’s top football clubs of being involved in match-fixing operations that involve five criminal gangs

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Neither Shakhtar Donetsk nor Dynamo Kiev have been included, but five clubs from the Ukrainian Premier League have been. Vorskla Poltava and Zorya Luhansk are the two highest-profile sides in a list put forward to the authorities by Ukrainian police. Zirka, Olimpik and Olexandriya make up the five.

The investigation was managed by Francesco Baranca - head of the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU) Committee on Ethics and Fair Play.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov claims the raids carried out on Tuesday uncovered five criminal groups and revealed 57 match-fixing cases that involve 328 people.

Avakov, widely considered to be Ukraine’s most powerful political figure behind president Petro Poroshenko, says the match-fixers have earned up to $5m (around £3.7m) a year making bets in Asia on pre-determined results in Ukrainian football.

He added on Facebook: "Club presidents, former and current players, referees, trainers, and commercial organisations were involved."

Serhiy Knyazev, head of the National Police of Ukraine, said: "We have been collecting and documenting the proof for over a year."

FFU President Andriy Pavelko responded to the allegations with a message of hope for followers of Ukrainian football.

He said: "Today is a historic day for Ukrainian football. This is the start of a systemic clean-up of Ukrainian football from a problem that was rooted in it for years.

"I am sure this will set a good example for Ukrainian and world football."

Saturday's Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid is being held in Kiev. 

Vorskla Poltava and Zorya Luhansk will likely be removed from next season's Europa League by UEFA if they are found guilty of corruption.

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