Samuel Chukwueze’s Villarreal In Match-Fixing Scandal

Chukwueze during the football match between Villarreal CF and CD Leganes on April 21, 2019 at Ceramica Stadium in Villarreal, Spain. Cordon Press

Samuel Chukwueze’s La Liga club Villarreal are embroiled in a match-fixing scandal according to reports in Spain.

Spanish media say the incident relates to a 2-2 draw between Villarreal and Getafe in the final game of last season.

Spanish police are investigating possible match-fixing in the fixture although both clubs have denied any wrongdoing.

Super Eagles star Chukwueze who enjoyed a breakthrough campaign for the Yellow Submarines last season was not listed for the encounter.

“Villarreal and its first team wish to show their absolute rejection of the accusations made today and categorically deny being involved in any way in fixing the game against Getafe on the final day of last season,” said a club statement.

“As it has done on repeated occasions, the club condemns any conduct that damages the essence of sport and competition and stresses that the values of transparency, ethics, integrity and fair play are fundamental to its philosophy.”

Getafe also repudiated the allegations in a statement saying the club “wish to categorically deny any involvement with this matter and this type of conduct”.

According to Spanish publication, El Pais, the match is the latest suspicious encounter being investigated as part of Operation Oikos, which was launched last year.

Eleven people have been arrested so far from the Operation on suspicion of forming a match-fixing group to profit from betting on games.

La Liga confirmed it had opened a confidential dossier as part of Operation Oikos but said it was keeping details of the case a secret until it goes to trial.

“Operation Oikos came about due to an accusation by La Liga, which has joined the case as a private plaintiff, and will take all legal measures necessary to clarify the facts that are under investigation,” La Liga said in a statement.

Getafe needed a win against Villarreal to stand a chance of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League ahead of Valencia. Villarreal had nothing to play for.

Valencia, however, defeated Real Valladolid 2-0 away from home on the same day meaning that Getafe could not have qualified for the Champions League even if they had beaten Villarreal.

Match-fixing and other corrupt football practices have become more commonplace in Spain recently.

The first ever convictions for sports-related corruption was made in Spain last month after five former Osasuna directors and two former Real Betis players were given jail sentences following an investigation into match-fixing in 2013 and 2014.