(Adds Slovaks charged, background)
PRAGUE, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Czech and Slovak police have charged at least 19 people suspected of match-fixing and illegal betting in Czech and Slovak soccer leagues and summoned more than 20 others for questioning, police said on Thursday.
Slovak news agency SITA said the Slovak part of the probe included three players for the first division side Dunajska Streda. All the betting activity was done in Asia, it said.
“The head of the organised group was a person from Asia who, using intermediaries, solicited players in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. He offered players bribes of 2,000 to 60,000 euros ($79,800) per match,” it quoted police president Tibor Gaspar as saying.
“It included 19 matches in the Czech Republic and Slovakia including top league matches this season.”
Players in eastern Europe make much less than players in the west and often struggle to get paid on time, leaving them vulnerable to offers from match-fixers who can be relied upon to pay punctually, world players’ union FIFPro board member Dejan Stefanovic told Reuters in an interview in July.
Czech police said in a statement they raided 15 homes and other premises in the probe, which the Czech FA said was triggered by the association’s findings.
“The association had received serious findings 11 months ago that not all is in order in lower leagues in terms of betting,” the FA said in a statement.
The Czech police did not say who was detained, adding that they were cooperating with Slovak colleagues in the case.
$1 = 0.7518 euros Reporting by Jan Lopatka, editing by Alan Baldwin