French handball legend Karabatic set for match-fixing trial

French handball legend Karabatic set for match-fixing trial

MONTPELLIER (FRANCE) - France's newly-crowned world handball champion Nikola Karabatic is due to stand trial on charges of match-fixing, the state prosecutor's office in Montpellier declared on Friday.

French international handball player Nikola Karabatic in Pornic, western France, January 5, 2015

Karabtic, who led France to their fifth world title in Doha on Sunday, is one of 17 accused of rigging a French first division game in May, 2012.

His then club, Montpellier, lost the game against Cesson 31-28, with alarm bells ringing because of the scale of bets totalling 80,000 euros wagered.

The bulk of the money were on Cesson leading at half-time, which they did 15-12, against a Montpellier side already assured of the title.

Two other members of Sunday's winning France team in Doha, Samuel Honrubia, and Karabatic's brother Luka, are also among those accused.

"They are dealing with this situation very badly," the Karabatic brothers' lawyer Jean-Robert Phung told I-Tele, a French news television channel.

"They want to get it over with as quickly as possible. We knew the legal authorities had no other choice but to send the affair to trial," he added.

Neither the Karabatic brothers nor Honrubia played in the match under the spotlight.

The prosecutor now has three months to issue a decision. Any eventual trial could begin in June.

Nikola Karabatic is arguably the world's biggest handball star, leading France to back-to-back Olympic titles in 2008 and 2012.

France have won the last two men's Olympic titles in Beijing and London in 2008 and 2012, as well as three European titles (2006, 2010, 2014) and five world crowns (1995, 2001, 2009, 2011, 2015).

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