La Liga chief Javier Tebas doubts Granada received incentives

La Liga president Javier Tebas has said that he is sure that players are betting on matches in the third tier of Spanish football, but joined Barcelona striker Luis Suarez in dismissing rumours of match-fixing in the Spanish Primera Division.

Spanish media have claimed that Granada's players could be offered incentives -- described in Spanish as briefcases, or maletines -- by Real Madrid to play to the role of spoiler to Barcelona and help Real Madrid steal the title.

Barcelona forward Luis Suarez on Thursday dismissed the idea, saying that Granada players were "too proud to wager."

Tebas said he doesn't have any reason to believe that Real Madrid would offer any incentives to Granada, but added that La Liga is vulnerable to match-fixing as well as to players betting on matches.

"Yes, we have knowledge that some players [in Primera Division] bet, yes," Tebas told El Mundo. "Players cannot bet in competition in which they participate, that is obvious. That is a serious infraction and it is not only sanctioned by league rules but also by Spanish law."

During a tight title race two years ago a debate over the issue arose when Spanish players' union president Luis Rubiales suggested that he saw nothing wrong with the practice, with LFP chief Tebas responding that anyone who gave or received such a payment should be punished.

The Premier League in 2014 banned players from betting on any matches anywhere in the world but Tebas admitted that La Liga does not have the mechanisms in place to police betting players could potentially do in Spain.

Manchester City's Martin Demichelis admitted this past March when he was charged with misconduct in relation to betting by the England FA that he did not understand all the rules in all the European leagues.

"Things are different in each place," he told ESPN. "In Spain, this is allowed [betting on matches outside of one's own], or it was just prohibited."

Tebas called upon the Spanish federation (RFEF) to police the third-tier and below.

"We have the impression that there is less oversight in these categories," Tebas said. "They are overseen by the Spanish FA (RFEF) where there are no measures to control this, there is no monitoring for bets, there are no education campaigns, there are no investigations ,there is no protocol in place to report potential incidents, so that if someone suspects something they could call attention to it. As a result, bettors and match-fixers take advantage of these divisions.

"We receive about three or four per season in the Primera Division and then more, seven or eight in Segunda Division," he said. "The percentage is not high, but the fact that there is a percentage at all is alarming. Now, the warnings don't mean that a match is necessarily being fixed, but our service investigates them and after a few weeks our investigations are either archived or moved to a police investigation."

There are already cases in Spanish courts relating to maletines. Atletico Madrid captain Gabi is one of several players who gave evidence last year regarding an official complaint that claims Real Zaragoza paid Levante €965,000 to lose a match between the two sides nearly five years ago, thus allowing Zaragoza to stay up.

Elsewhere, former Osasuna general manager Angel Vizcay alleges the Pamplona-based club offered third-party incentives for Real Valladolid to beat Deportivo La Coruna and for Real Betis to beat Celta Vigo in 2013.