Nimes president resigns over match-fixing probe

Nimes president resigns over match-fixing probe

MARSEILLE - President of French second division club Nimes, Jean-Marc Conrad resigned Friday saying he would fight corruption accusations.

President of French second division club Nimes, Jean-Marc Conrad, was one of six people charged with match-fixing

Conrad was one of six people charged with match-fixing on Thursday, along with Nimes's major shareholder Serge Kasparian and Caen president Jean-Francois Fortin.

The charges relate to second division matches from last season that are suspected to have been fixed to ensure that Nimes avoided relegation and Caen would be promoted.

"I have taken the decision to resign from my functions as president of Nimes Olympique. This decision, which I wasn't forced to take, is only intended to protect the interests of my club," said Conrad in a statement sent to AFP by his lawyer.

"From now on, I will dedicate all my strength and energy on defending myself against these accusations that are as unfair as they are unfounded."

The other three charged were named by sources as businessman Michel Moulin, Franck Toutoundjian, the president of amateur side AS Ararat Issy-les-Moulineaux and Caen's security chief Kaddour Mokkedel.

All six men were released on bail on condition that they do not contact one another.

Several matches, including a 1-1 draw between Caen and Nimes on May 13, are being looked into by investigators.

Recordings of telephone conversations between leading figures of several clubs form a key part of the evidence.

Magistrates have been trying to establish if pressure was exerted by Nimes on other Ligue 2 teams as the club battled against relegation.

The Canard Enchaine weekly on Wednesday released a transcript of a telephone conversation between Fortin and Conrad which it said was made by police.

In the recording, Fortin says: "You need a point as well?" Conrad replied "Yes, we need a point too, there it is." The Caen president then says: "Well, if we are not too stupid?"

The weekly said that 24 boxes of wine, 288 bottles, were left outside the Caen dressing room after the game.

In a separate investigation, a number of club officials at French Ligue 1 leaders Marseille, including president Vincent Labrune, were released without charge on Thursday having been detained earlier in the week.

That investigation relates to transfer fraud and several deals involving the French giants, including that which brought top scorer Pierre-Andre Gignac to the club in 2010, are being analysed.

Suspicions of extortion, money-laundering, fraud and conspiracy with underworld gangs are being investigated.

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