Depor player queried by police after leaked audio

Spanish police yesterday questioned a player who suggested in a leaked audio recording that his team may not play to win a rescheduled second-division match.

Deportivo La Coruna captain Alex Bergantinos said he was asked by authorities to explain his comments in the audio released by Spanish media on Tuesday. His talk with police came two days before Deportivo — already relegated — hosts Fuenlabrada in a final-round match rescheduled after Fuenlabrada players tested positive for the coronavirus.

Bergantinos said in the recording, apparently sent to his teammates, that club lawyers advised the team to show up with at least eight professional players to avoid losing points, but that he didn’t know “what kind of game it would be,” or whether they would talk to Fuenlabrada players and maybe after “1-0 we just sit back, I don’t know.”

Bergantinos said the audio should have stayed private and denied any attempt had been made — or was going to be made — to prearrange the result of the match.

Fuenlabrada, which needs at least a draw against Deportivo to reach the promotion playoffs, had forwarded the audio recording to local authorities, saying it was a victim.

Elche currently holds the final playoff spot.

Meanwhile, Deportivo Alaves has appointed former Sevilla and Espanyol manager Pablo Machin as its new head coach to replace Juan Ramon Lopez Muniz, the La Liga club announced yesterday.

Machin, 45, had been named head coach of Chinese Super League side Qingdao Huanghai in July but was unable to travel to China to take up the job after one of his relatives tested positive for COVID-19.

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