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Impact’s former reserve team involved in alleged fixed match

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A 2009 Canadian Soccer League match between the Montreal Impact’s reserve team and Toronto Croatia has been linked to a major European match-fixing ring.

Over the past week, in a Bochum, Germany courthouse, Ante Sapina, an alleged head of Croatia-based match-fixing syndicate, has been cooperating with authorities, disclosing matches he said were rigged by his group.

On the list is a game between the Trois Rivieres Attak and Toronto Croatia. That game is believed to be the Sept. 12, 2009 match which saw the Attak win by a 4-1 count. Some Asian betting sites have targeted that match as the one on the list in front of the jurors in Bochum.

The Attak served as the reserve/farm squad of the Impact until the end of the 2009 season. In 2010, the Impact began its own Academy team based in Montreal.

“We have been apprised of these serious allegations from these same weekend reports,” wrote CSL chairman Vincent Ursini in a e-mail to The 11.” The CSL will work with the CSA to investigate these matters and we will provide the media with updates as soon as there is anything to report. We will be issuing an official statement shortly.”

Impact players on the club’s 2011 roster who played in that 4-1 win over Toronto Croatia include Pierre-Rudolph Mayard and Reda Agourram, who scored that day. Alex Surprenant, now with FC Edmonton, also scored for the Attak in the match. See the boxscore here.

It’s important — legally and morally — to point out that these are still considered allegations. And, if true, we don’t know if an individual player or players were contacted, or if one or both teams knew.

After the match, Attak coach Philippe Eullaffroy told the team’s website that he was satisfied with the win “because they are the league leaders and, second, because they had lost only one game before today. We scored four goals against the best defence in the league.” (Translated from French)

Down 2-1 in the second half, TC’s Antonio Zupan struck the post in his attempt to tie the game on a penalty.

Surprenant’s goal came off a free kick and, according to the match report “his shot went around the wall formed by the Croats and the goalkeeper failed to take full control of the ball before it crossed the goal line.”

MLS, the league which the Impact will be entering in 2012, declined to comment on the situation, stating it wasn’t appropriate to comment on a game which happened outside of its jurisdiction.

The 11 has contacted the Impact and NASL officials for comment. The story will be updated as the day progresses.

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