German police make arrests over match-fixing

BERLIN - Police in Germany and abroad have made several arrests and conducted searches on suspicion of an international illegal betting ring allegedly fixing matches in top European leagues, Bochum prosecutors said on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear how many people and in which countries, other than Germany, the arrests had taken place and which leagues may have been affected.

"There were many searches and arrests made in the whole of the state (of Germany) and abroad," the state prosecutor's office in the city of Bochum said in a statement.

The statement said those arrested were suspected of trying to influence players, coaches and officials to manipulate matches in top European leagues.

German soccer federation spokesman Harald Stenger told reporters initial indications showed there was no involvement of German teams in this affair.

The Bochum prosecution will hold a news conference on Friday to provide further details with a European football(UEFA) representative present as well, it said.

This is not the first time Germany has been at the heart of an illegal betting scandal.

The country was rocked by the scandal involving Bundesliga referee Robert Hoyzer in 2005 who rigged matches as part of an international illegal betting gang and was sentenced to two years and five months in prison.