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Soccer-Contrite Hungarian admits to match-fixing ahead of trial

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

BUDAPEST, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Former defender Gabor Horvath has lifted the lid on the extent of match-fixing in Hungary, which has been a focus for investigators looking at global corruption in soccer.

The 29-year-old, who played for Hungarian top-flight teams Siofok and Diosgyor, now works in Dubai as a personal trainer but will return to his home country to go on trial with 45 other suspects.

"I could not avoid the match-fixing. I did bet on our games that were fixed, yes, I earned lots of money out of it but also spent it easily," he told Hungarian media on Tuesday.

Horvath rowed back from previous comments that there were 500 players fixing matches in Hungary but still said the practice had been widespread.

"It is a pity that I was at the peak of my career when this disease flourished in Hungary, and I caught it too like so many others," he added.

Last week Hungarian investigators finished a four-year probe into match-fixing in the country with the Nemzeti Sport newspaper saying 33 matches were involved in the trial.

Horvath, who was released from custody pending the trial, has already given written testimony.

"After the police arrested me, I spent an awful night in a jail where I thought over the whole story. I can only be angry with myself, only then I realised what I had done," he said.

"I have no fear but I am not calm either. Not a day passes without thinking of the others who are still in jail. I have regrets, I lost almost all of my friends, but I told the truth to the investigators."

No date has yet been fixed for the trial.

European anti-crime agency Europol caused consternation in football when it announced on Feb. 4 that some 680 matches were suspected to have been fixed in a global betting scam run from Singapore, although critics said many of the games were already known about.

Media reports say Hungarian clubs are central to the global probe and Debrecen goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic has been forced to deny attempting to fix his side's Champions League match with Liverpool in 2009. (Editing by Mark Meadows)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130226/soccer-contrite-hungarian-admits-match-fixing-ahead-trial