Match-fixing shame of former Canary
A former Norwich City striker has admitted match fixing. David Nielsen says he threw a game on purpose when one of his former clubs, Danish side AaB, faced FC Copenhagen in May, 2004.
A former Norwich City striker has admitted match fixing.
David Nielsen says he threw a game on purpose when one of his former clubs, Danish side AaB, faced FC Copenhagen in May, 2004.
The 31-year-old - currently on loan to Stromsgodset in Norway - said in an interview with TV2 sports show LPS that he had amassed huge gambling debts which had prompted him to take the action.
"This was during a period when I had just been involved in a playing scandal and had gambled a lot of money away, so when I got the chance to get some money back again, I took it," said Nielsen, who said none of his team-mates or the team's management knew of his plans at the time.
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Nielsen's revelations come just a month after the FA opened an inquiry into a match between City and Derby, which reportedly attracted irregular betting patterns, although there is no suggestion that the two cases are linked.
The Danish Football Association's (DBU) disciplinary committee will investigate Nielsen's admission, which it described as "discrediting to the game of football". The DBU said there were three observers at the game and none of them had any idea that Nielsen was playing in an unsportsmanlike way.
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Nielsen joined City on loan from Wimbledon in December, 2001, and after scoring five goals in five games, Nigel Worthington signed him on a permanent deal for £210,000.
But while he helped City to the 2002 play-off final at the Millennium Stadium he was never able to reproduce that early form and after nine goals in 54 league appearances he left for Denmark, in August, 2003.
It was a departure shrouded in mystery, with Nielsen claiming he wanted to return for family reasons, although there were rumours even then that he had a gambling problem. Nielsen claimed a job offer from Denmark to his wife Tenna, who was employed in the computer industry, was too good to refuse.
"I've had a great time here and it was a very difficult decision to make," said Nielsen at the time. "But I have to look after my family and we've got a wonderful opportunity to go back to Denmark. It's something that came up pretty quickly and I just had to make sure everything was as promised back home before I made the decision. It's got nothing to do with living here. As I've said many times before we've all been really, really happy here. It's a wonderful place, especially for a family man like myself. I was happy here, my wife was happy here and my little boy was happy here too."
After his departure, Nielsen was rarely far from controversy: in May, 2004, he and a team-mate were said to have accumulated 1.6m Krona in gambling debts, and in February 2005 he was sacked by Aalborg after punching a team-mate during training. He has since played for FC Midtjylland, Norwegian side Start and Danish side Odense.