English football is clean of cheating, insists Wenger

The Frenchman has revealed his shock at the alleged corruption currently being investigated by Europol, but is certain it is not something which happens in this country

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has expressed shock at the extent of recent match-fixing revelations but insists England does not have a similar problem.

Europol revealed this week that up to 680 fixtures form part of their investigation into corruption in football, a figure that is believed to include a 2009 Champions League clash featuring Liverpool.

However, Wenger is adamant that the English game has no such issues and praised the transparency of refereeing in this country.

“I don’t think at all it’s a problem in the English game,” he added. “That’s why it’s maybe a shock for us because we are convinced we live in a world in England where it’s not a perfect world but I don’t think cheating or match-fixing is a problem.

“In fairness I give you [reporters] some credit for that because the English media would be very harsh against that.

“I personally feel English football is clean of cheating 100 per cent. I don’t think referees are corrupt.

“It happened in Europe before, that is my belief, where referees were not always fair, especially in some countries. But you always have to be cautious, have your own beliefs, prove it, and that becomes more difficult.”

The Frenchman also went on to call for tough sanctions to be handed down and for the authorities to start taking the issue seriously.

“It was absolutely a surprise by the number of games that have been fixed,” he added.

“I can’t accept it and I always was a believer that there’s a lot of cheating going on in our game and that we are not strong enough with what happens, nor with the doping, nor with the corruption of the referees, nor with the match fixing.

“It’s time that we tackle this problem in a very serious way and that people who cheat are punished in a very severe way as well. Sport is full of legends who are in fact cheats. We had a recent example again and we all have that responsibility to fight against that.”

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