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Police probe match fixing in Oulu stadium bomb threat

Police are looking into the possibility of match fixing as a motive for a bomb threat that suspended a football match in Oulu Wednesday evening. The game between AC Oulu and Oulun Palloseura was suspended 83 minutes into the fixture.

Raatin stadion Oulussa
Police and stadium officials evacuated Oulu's Raatti field after a phoned-in bomb threat on Wednesday. Image: Risto Degerman / Yle

Footballers from AC Oulu and Oulun Palloseura OPS had played to a goalless draw when the game was blown off because of a bomb threat Wednesday evening.

Police and stadium officials evacuated Oulu’s Raatti stadium, sealed the surrounding area and swept the venue, but found no explosives.

Police noted that the bomb threat calls – there were two -- came from an overseas number and that the caller spoke in English. They are looking into the possibility that the call may have been an attempt at match fixing, which generally involves trying to influence the outcome of a game in organised sports.

"We have been in touch with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the Finnish Centre for Integrity in Sports FINCIS and other officials as part of our investigations. This is a normal process when something extraordinary has happened in a game. We will look into whether or not there was anything unusual about the betting behaviour," Finnish Football Association communications chief Sami Terävä told the Finnish news agency STT.

FINCIS’ head of investigations Jouko Ikonen told Yle that the state betting monopoly Veikkaus had so far not observed any anomalies in bets for the game.

In April this year, officials also cleared the pitch shortly after a game between Rovaniemi Palloseura RoPs and Vaasan Palloseura VPS and evacuated spectators from the Rovaniemi Keskuskenttä because of a bomb threat. Police have declined to comment on whether the cases are related.

Edit: Updated at 12.45pm to indicate that police cleared the stadium in Rovaniemi after the game and did not suspend the match as previously reported.

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