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Laudrup backs 'suitcase' payments

ESPN staff
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Michael Laudrup sees no problem with paying another team to win © PA Photos
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Swansea manager Michael Laudrup sees no problem with offering rival teams a cash bonus to win, arguing that the practice does not constitute match-fixing.

Laudrup played for Italian sides Lazio and Juventus during the 1980s, a period associated with match-fixing investigations in the country that continue to mar Italian football.

But while the former Danish international insisted that those involved in match-fixing should be banned for life, he saw no problem with the 'suitcase' culture prevalent in Spanish football, where one team will pay another team to take points off their immediate rivals in the league table.

"To say I'm against that [match-fixing] is obvious," Laudrup, who has previously managed Getafe and Mallorca, said.

"The worst match fixing I've heard was what happened in Italy before I came there in the beginning of the 80s, where somebody bought three or four of the players in a team to lose a game.

"That means that seven or eight players in a team were playing to win, like normal, and three or four of them just to lose."

But Laudrup said 'suitcases' did not fall under match-fixing as the incentive still rests on a team playing to win.

"If Swansea play the last game against a team and a third team pays Swansea to win the game, I really don't see anything bad about that," Laudrup explained. "It's just a bonus. For me, match-fixing is somebody pays someone to lose a game."

Laudrup, 48, became familiar with the process while playing for Barcelona and Real Madrid.

He added: "In Spain where there's one or two matches left in a season we always talked about the suitcases. But the suitcases is to win - I don't see anything bad about that.

"I think we have to define very well what is match-fixing because there's different levels, I think."

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