• France's news in English

French handball hit by corruption allegations

AFP · 26 Sep 2012, 15:06

Published: 26 Sep 2012 15:06 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The south coast club has dominated French handball for the last 15 years and officials were quick to protest the innocence of their players, many of whom starred for the France team that won Olympic gold in the London Games.

A legal source confirmed that some players and their relatives would soon be questioned as part of the probe.

Montpellier president Remy Levy, a lawyer by profession, told the Midi Libre newspaper that he and coach Patrice Canayer had already been quizzed by police heading the investigation, without giving further details.

"I will defend the honour of the club," Levy said, adding that all club players knew the rules banning sporting bets.

"The cited players do have the presumption of innocence. We'll see what the investigation establishes. We'll see the truth behind these claims, these
bets, the identity of people who will be interviewed."

Suspicions were raised over a match that Montpellier lost 31-28 to Cesson-Sevigne on May 12. At the time, Montpellier were assured of a 13th league title in 15 seasons while the Breton club sat in eighth position.

Betting firm la Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) at the time reported abnormal betting patterns up to five times bigger than expected and suspended bets during the match.

Large bets reportedly came in at half-time on a loss for Montpellier, for whom stalwarts Nikola and Luka Karabatic, Mladen Bojinovic, Vid Kavticnik and Samuel Honrubia were not playing because of injury.

France 3 television reported that police had discovered that wives or girlfriends of players and club members had placed bets in three betting shops in the Paris region, the western region of Brittany, and around Montpellier.

Montpellier are currently in Germany where they are preparing for a Champions League match against Flensburg on Thursday, before returning to the French capital to play Paris Saint-Germain in a top-of-the-table league clash on Saturday.

"What should have been a big handball festival has been tarnished," said Montpellier president Levy.

Story continues below…

"It's obviously the image of the club brand that's at stake. We've got a good image. We'll fight to restore our honour."

Cesson president Philippe Barberet said he was baffled by the investigation.

"No one saw anything during the match," he told RTL radio. "I don't understand. If ever these players were really involved in anything, it would really be a tragedy."

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Homeless man dines at top tables in France, then runs off
Photo: Prayitno/Flickr

"A man's gotta eat," he told police, after racking up gigantic bills in some of France's plushest restaurants.

Underwater museum hopes to make a splash in Marseille
A similar underwater museum piece by Jason deCaires Taylor. Photo: julie rohloff/Flickr

Don't forget your scuba gear...

Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Photo: Jacme/Flickr

Move over Paris...

And France's top chef of the year is... 'Monsieur Idiot'
Alexandre Couillon might have an unfortunate name, but he can sure cook!. Photo: AFP

Look beyond the name. He's the man who turned his family's humble "moules frites" joint into one of France's best seafood restaurants.

Could France do more to ease the worries of 'Brexpats'?
Photo: AFP

Paris is rolling out the red tape for British firms, so why not British citizens in France?

Brexit: Brits in France could face 'cataclysmic' impact
Photo: AFP

Can't France make it easier for Britons to get French nationality?

In their own words: Why French police are in revolt
"Solidarity with our colleagues". Police protesting near Paris. Photo: AFP

Police have staged protests for three nights in a row across France. Here's why they say they're fed up.

France leaning right six months before election
Candidates for the right-wing Les Republicains Alain Juppe and Nicolas Sarkozy. Photo: AFP

... and the left has been left in suspended animation.

Disgruntled French police stage protests for third night
Photo: AFP

The French government is struggling to deal with a revolt among the country's police force.

Scarlett Johansson to run Paris gourmet popcorn shop
Photo: AFP

She'll even be serving customers apparently.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
Want to drive a scooter around Paris? Here's what you need to know
jobs available