La Liga team Las Palmas have strongly denied an accusation aired on Spanish radio that their 3-2 defeat at Granada late in the 2015-16 campaign was fixed.
Las Palmas were already safe when they went to a Granada that was already deep in troubleon April 30 and were 2-0 up inside 12 minutes, only for the home team to come back to win 3-2. That victory formed part of a late upswing in form which saw Granada win three of their last five games and avoid relegation by just a point.
As often happens late in the Spanish season there were accusations and speculation of illegal maletines payments for teams to either win or lose crucial games in the relegation battle. At the time of the Granada vs. Las Palmas game, La Liga president Javier Tebas admitted the authorities had looked closely at the video but determined that "nothing strange had happened."
The case arose again on Tuesday night with an individual named Jose Guerrero Fernandez, previously unrelated to the world of football, telling the El Larguero radio show that then-Granada president Quique Pina, who has since left the role, had given him a bag with €600,000 to hand over to Las Palmas players after the result had gone the way agreed in advance.
The Canary Islanders have reacted with a short club statement on Wednesday saying that they had not been involved in any of the behaviour described during the report.
"UD Las Palmas denies any involvement in the acts described last night, Tuesday 21 June 2016, on the programme 'El Larguero' of the Cadena Ser," the statement said. "In this space there was mention made of an alleged fix in the game Granada CF-UD Las Palmas, played in week 36 of La Liga BBVA, which ended in defeat (3-2) at the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes, a game in which the Andalusian side had yet to be assured of avoiding relegation."
Nobody from Granada appeared on the radio show, but experienced host Jose Ramon de la Morena said on air he had spoken with Pina who denied knowing or ever speaking with Guerrero Fernandez.
Guerrero Fernandez rejected this and said he had got to know Pina in a local nightclub called Mae West, and was now taking a legal case as he had not been paid for doing the job he had been hired to do.
"They hired me to look after a money bag with €600,000 which I was to hand over if Granada won the game," he said. "I did not see the game. I was with the money in the office of the Estadio de Los Carmenes. At the end of the game, after a phone call from the president to [the club's security chief], I delivered the bag to someone from Las Palmas, I don't know who he was."
Guerrero Fernandez said he was going public with some details about the case as he had been threatened after trying to get the money he was owed, while adding he did not know he had been involved in anything illegal.
"More proof will come out as the case advances," he said. "I am saying this in public as my family has been threatened. I cannot go into many details as my lawyer says it is a delicate case and I should be cautious.
"I have called the Granada president various times, but he does not answer. I did not know why I was handing over the money. I just did what I was asked to do."
Former agent and transfer advisor Pina left Granada at the end of the 2015-16 season, when the club was bought by Chinese businessman Jiang Lizhang from previous owners the Pozzo family, who also own Serie A club Udinese and Premier League outfit Watford.