Spanish police detain 23 for alleged soccer match-fixing in Spain, Andorra and Gibraltar

MADRID (Reuters) -A group of 23 people, including soccer players, have been arrested as part of a probe into suspected match-fixing in non-professional Spanish, Andorran and Gibraltarian soccer leagues, Spanish police said on Tuesday.

Those arrested are suspected of belonging to a ring that allegedly won as much as 500,000 euros ($540,750) through minor bets with payouts that were too small to raise regulatory flags, the police said, adding that the ring members acted on information from players who then influenced the games' final outcome.

"A second layer of the scam comprised soccer players who took advantage of their position to organise the fixing in the teams under their influence," police said.

No players were identified, but police said the ring targeted some 30 games in nonprofessional leagues such as Spain's third division and the local leagues of micro-state Andorra and British enclave Gibraltar.

The Andorran Football Federation said it was evaluating and analysing the information and would collaborate with the judicial and sports authorities in their investigation.

"We lament these allegations which taint the image of clubs and players and the different collaborators," the association said in a statement.

Officials from the Spanish and Gibraltarian football associations did not respond to requests for comment.

The investigation was carried out in 2021 and 2022 with the help of several organisations, including Spain's football federation RFEF, LaLiga, the Betting Market Global Investigation Service (SIGMA) and European governing body UEFA's Anti-Match-Fixing Unit.

It was also supported by international police forces Europol and Interpol.

($1 = 0.9246 euros)

(Reporting by Inti Landauro and Emma Pinedo in MadridEditing by Alexandra Hudson and Matthew Lewis)