Dutch football association investigates alleged match-fixing

THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- The Dutch football association is opening an investigation and calling for a criminal probe into detailed allegations published on Saturday of the alleged fixing of two matches in the top-tier Eredivisie.

Respected daily De Volkskrant reported that two matches involving Tilburg team Willem II -- against Ajax and Feyenoord -- were fixed during the 2009-2010 season by players allegedly paid by a Singaporean syndicate.

De Volkskrant identified former Willem II and Sierra Leone midfielder Ibrahim Kargbo as ringleader, an allegation Kargbo denied in an interview with the newspaper. Kargbo was suspended last year from international duty by his country's football authorities, along with three other players, over alleged attempts to fix a June 2008 qualifier against South Africa.

The Dutch football association called the detailed Volkskrant investigation "the most concrete case yet in the Netherlands" of alleged fixing.

"We will do everything in our power to get to the bottom of this," the association said on its website.

As well as handing the case to criminal investigators, the association says it will carry out its own probe by interviewing players, referees and club officials and analysing video images.

In a written reaction, Willem II said they were shocked by the reports and pledged to cooperate fully with investigations.