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BOOKIES BAN BETS IN DUNDEE EURO TIE; Fear over match fixing.

Byline: STEVEN VENTURA

BETTING was suspended on Dundee's European match last night over fears of match-rigging.

A series of big bets on the Dens Park side forced bookies to slash the odds on Dundee beating Albanian side Vllaznia in their UEFA Cup qualifying clash.

William Hill closed their telephone and internet book amid rumours a players' strike in Albania would influence the result.

The flood of bets placed before the match kicked-off included a pounds 22,000 wager placed by a Scot that Dundee would be winning at half- time and full-time.

At 7/4, it would have netted him pounds 38,500 - plus his original stake. Hill's refused to take the bet, but allowed the punter place a pounds 500 wager at the same odds on the game in Albania.

Bookmakers Super Soccer, who supply coupons and odds for independent bookies, advised their clients to stop taking bets on Dundee yesterday afternoon.

A memo from the Birmingham firm at 2pm yesterday said: "Due to unusual betting patterns on this match, we advise our clients to suspend betting immediately."

One senior Scots bookmaking source said: "This means there is a real fear the match is rigged.

"Rumours suggest betting syndicates in Asia are putting lots of money on Dundee.

"That usually happens because they know something the rest of us don't.

"In countries such as Albania, players stand to get paid more for punting than playing. And some bookies here think they may have been approached by betting syndicates."

William Hill had Dundee to win at odds of 11/10 yesterday morning. But after taking tens of thousands of pounds from London customers, they slashed the odds to 4/6 by the afternoon. They also suspended internet and telephone bets.

Spokesman Graham Sharpe said: "There was a rumour of a players' strike forcing Vllaznia to put out a youth or reserve side.

"And I think some punters heard this and decided to put a lot of money on Dundee."

MATCH REPORT: Sports Record
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 15, 2003
Words:333
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