A European police intelligence agency said a 19-month investigation revealed widespread occurrences of soccer match-fixing in recent years, with nearly 700 matches globally deemed suspicious.

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Probe shows fixing is suspected

in 680 matches globally

With next summer’s World Cup in Brazil drawing closer, a European police-intelligence agency said Monday a 19-month investigation revealed widespread occurrences of match-fixing in recent years.

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There were 680 matches deemed suspicious. The list encompasses about 380 matches in Europe, covering World Cup qualifiers as well as UEFA Champions League games.

Officials of Europol, an agency that works with countries across the continent, offered details that strike at the sport’s core: nearly $11 million in profits and nearly $3 million in bribes were discovered during the investigation, which uncovered “match-fixing activity on a scale we have not seen before,” said Rob Wainwright, the director of Europol.

Fixers typically seek to dictate a match result by corrupting the players or the on-field officials, and Europol officials said roughly 425 people are under suspicion because of the investigation, with 50 people having been arrested. The scope of the investigation covered matches from 2008 to 2011.

An organized-crime syndicate based in Asia is believed to be the driving force behind the fixing activity, which stretches across at least 15 countries, officials said.

“This is a sad day for European football,” Wainwright said at a news conference in the Netherlands.

FC Dallas acquires Cooper

The New York Red Bulls traded Kenny Cooper, who led the Major League Soccer team with 18 regular-season goals last year, to FC Dallas for allocation money. Cooper played for FC Dallas from 2006 to 2009.


Astros trade Lowrie to Athletics

The Oakland Athletics acquired infielder Jed Lowrie and right-hander Fernando Rodriguez from the Houston Astros for first baseman Chris Carter and two minor-leaguers.

Right-hander Brad Peacock and catcher Max Stassi also went to Houston in the deal between franchises that will be playing in the same division for the first time. The Astros are moving from the NL Central to the AL West.

Lowrie batted .244 with 16 homers and drove in 42 runs in 97 games with Houston last year despite missing two months because of ankle and thumb injuries.

Tigers, Scherzer agree on deal

The Detroit Tigers agreed to a one-year, $6.725 million contract with right-hander Max Scherzer and avoided salary arbitration.

Scherzer was 16-7 last season with a 3.74 earned-run average.

Pitcher Webb decides to retire

Brandon Webb, who won the NL Cy Young Award with Arizona in 2006 and was one of the game’s top pitchers before being beset by arm injuries, is retiring. Webb, 33, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2009 because of shoulder problems.

Judges assigned in Bonds case

Barry Bonds’ appeal of his felony obstruction-of-justice conviction will be heard by three federal judges who were each appointed by a different Democratic president.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unveiled its schedule, which showed publicly for the first time the three judges assigned to Bonds’ case.

Senior Circuit Judges Mary M. Schroeder and Michael Daly Hawkins along with Judge Mary H. Murguia will hear oral arguments Feb. 13. Schroeder was appointed by Jimmy Carter, Hawkins by Bill Clinton and Murguia by President Obama.

Bonds, the sport’s career home-run leader, was convicted by a jury in 2011 that concluded he gave an “intentionally evasive, false or misleading” answer to a grand jury in 2003.


• Keeping a campaign promise, Pennsylvania’s new attorney general appointed a special deputy to investigate Gov. Tom Corbett‘s handling of the Penn State child sexual-abuse case and why it took so long to bring charges against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane appointed H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr., 54. Sandusky was arrested in November 2011, nearly a year after Corbett was sworn in as governor. Sandusky was convicted of 45 of 48 child sexual-abuse counts and is serving a prison term of 30 to 60 years.

• Boise State officials say two football players have been suspended from the school for violating university rules in October. The discipline creates uncertainty for the futures of safety Lee Hightower, who started the first seven games last season, and Hayden Plinke, a tight end who played in six games last year.

• California reached a settlement with ex-football coach Jeff Tedford that will pay him up to $5.55 million for the final three seasons of his contract.

Under terms of his contract, Tedford had been guaranteed $2.3 million a year for the final three seasons of his contract.

The deal allows Tedford to keep a larger share of any salary he receives in the next three seasons as a college coach or NFL head coach or assistant.

Mitchell “Ed” Karam, a Detroit-area businessman, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in a point-shaving investigation involving football and basketball at Toledo from 2004 to 2006.

Karam also pleaded guilty to conspiring to fix horse races at tracks including Tampa Bay Downs in Florida in 2005 and 2006. His guilty plea also covers a fraud charge in a separate real-estate investigation.

Jim Stillwagon, 63, a former Ohio State defensive lineman who is a college Hall of Famer, has pleaded not guilty in the shooting of a driver during a road-rage incident in September.

Larry Ellison‘s Oracle Team USA relaunched its newly repaired boat after a catastrophic capsize months ago while preparing for the America’s Cup.

Sophia Young, the leading scorer for the WNBA San Antonio Silver Stars last year, has a torn knee ligament and her status for 2013 is uncertain. She was injured during the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association playoffs last week and is to have surgery this week.

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