Players face court in Belgian matchfixing probe

BRUSSELS - A total of 31 people, including nine players, are to appear in court as part of a matchfixing probe in Belgium.

The players, connected to Lierse, newly promoted to the top flight, will appear at a pre-trial hearing on November 30, a spokeswoman for Belgium's federal prosecutor said on Thursday.

She declined to name the players involved, saying some may not end up being prosecuted.

Nobody at Lierse was immediately available to comment.

The prosecutor's office said in a statement that St Truiden, FC Brussels and La Louviere, who merged with Couillet in June 2009 to form FCLL, were also involved.

St Truiden are in the top flight while FC Brussels play in the second division and FCLL feature in the fourth tier.

Belgian police launched an investigation after Internet betting exchange Betfair logged heavy betting patterns relating to La Louviere's 3-1 win over St Truiden in a first division match in October 2005.

In a statement on Thursday, the prosecutor's office said Ye Zheyun, a Chinese businessman suspected of being the lynchpin of the scandal, will also be asked to appear in court.

Ye has previously denied any involvement in the affair.

A total of nine matches were manipulated during the 2004/05 season, the statement said. Sums of 5,000 to 40,000 euros were paid per match and per player, it added.

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