Zenit star says official paid during 2008 UEFA Cup

FC Zenit St Petersburg lift the UEFA Cup in 2008. Picture: SNS
FC Zenit St Petersburg lift the UEFA Cup in 2008. Picture: SNS
Share this article
Have your say

A former Zenit St Petersburg player says his side paid off an official during their 2008 UEFA Cup campaign where they defeated Rangers in the final.

Norwegian international Erik Hagen, who played for the Russian side between 2005 and 2008, said in a newspaper interview that players put in £1,800 each to pay off an official during the tournament.

Picture: Jane Barlow

Picture: Jane Barlow

Hagen has informed Norwegian authorities of the match in question but it has not been revealed due to legal reasons.

The Norwegian played in the earlier stages of the competition in 2008 but was loaned out to Wigan in January before the final.

He said: “One of our players knew the referee - that in itself was dubious enough. We had some outrageous victory bonuses in Europe, around $12,000, and before the game a player said each of us shoud give £3,000 of a bonus to the referee so we won.

“I said something like ‘this is wrong and that we shouldn’t need to do it because we’re better than the other team’ but the players agreed to do it their way.

Picture: TSPL

Picture: TSPL

“After the game I gave $3,000 of my win bonus to the referee too. A team-mate came up to ne after and said this should never happen again.”

Zenit have denied the allegations against them.

Rangers lost 2 - 0 in the final to Zenit, managed by former Ibrox boss Dick Advocaat, in Manchester.

A UEFA spokesman said: “We are aware of Erik Hagen’s interview.

“We can’t comment on specific caes unless there is a disciplinary decision taken . but we have to make it clear that UEFA is fighting strongly against match-fixing and we have strong procedures in place to deal with such cases.”

If the allegations are substantiated Zenit may have to relinquish the 2008 title.

Rangers were denied a place in the 1993 Champions League final by eventual winners Marseille who were later stripped of the title when club owner Bernard Tapie was jailed after being found guilty of match-fixing and bribery.