Two Armenian match officials, 1984 born FIFA referee Andranik Arsenyan and FIFA assistant referee Hovhannes Agavyan, have received lifetime bans from their domestic FA after being found guilty of having influenced the 2013 Europa League First Qualifying Round match between FC Inter Turku (Finland) and Víkingur Gøta (Faroe Islands) on July 11th.
|Armenian Andranik Arsenyan won't return onto the pitch (c) 101greatgoals|
According to reports, a wager of 300,000 was placed with Betfair that both teams would score in the match, which initially triggered suspicions of something untoward. Then, when the match actually started, two dubious penalties were called one after another for both sides by the ref.
UEFA subsequently launched an investigation, and the findings were that two Armenian referees on duty in the game had been bought.
The twist in the tale is that the mystery fixer lurking in the shadows also lost.
Despite the two penalties to each side, hosts Inter Turku missed their spot-kick ending the match 0-1 to Víkingur. In this match, Arsenyan was assisted by Erik Arevshatyan and guilty Hovhannes Agavyan. Manuk Fahradyan completed the officiating team that was observed by English Stephen Bennett.
Watch footage of the two dodgy penalties below.
Official statement by UEFA
UEFA yesterday took note of the decision of the Executive Committee of the Football Federation of Armenia (HFF) with regard to the referee and assistant referee who officiated at the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round match between FC Inter Turku and Víkingur on 11 July 2013.
In a hearing at the HFF, referee Andranik Arsenyan and assistant referee Hovhannes Avagyan admitted having tried to manipulate the outcome of the second-leg game, which ended 1-0 in favour of Víkingur.
The UEFA betting fraud detection system (BFDS) – which monitors over 32,000 matches across Europe, including all first-division and UEFA competition games – had detected suspicious betting patterns around this fixture, and this prompted the start of an investigation by UEFA to which the HFF contributed closely.
UEFA is pleased with the excellent cooperation of the HFF, the local authorities and the betting operators during the investigation process.
Today, the chairman of the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body has decided to suspend with immediate effect, and for any football-related activities, both match officials. At the same time, a disciplinary proceeding has been opened in accordance with Article 12 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (integrity of matches and competitions, and match-fixing).
The case will be dealt with by the Control and Disciplinary Body on Thursday 22 August at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland.