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Sports

Austrian Bundesliga side Grödig release players amid betting scandal

Austrian football is embroiled in a betting scandal. Top flight club Grödig have parted ways with two players after they were among a group taken into police custody as part of a match-fixing investigation.

Grödig Manager Christian Haas said at a press conference on Friday that his club had decided to terminate Thomas Zündel's contract because of a "breach of trust." The 25-year-old defender is the second Grödig player to be released after Dominique Taboga (pictured above), who was arrested Wednesday.

Zündel and three other Grödig players were taken into police custody on Thursday. Authorities are investigating whether Taboga attempted to coax his teammates into manipulating games last season, when Grödig were playing in Austrian's second-tier Erste Liga.

"Every day there is something new," said Haas, who added that the club's cooperation with authorities was "very important."

epa03970325 Manager of Austrian soccer club SV Groedig Christian Haas addresses to media during a press conference in Groedig, Austria, 29 November 2013. EPA/BARBARA GINDL +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

Haas said Zündel's behavior was "naive and stupid"

Haas told the Austria Press Agency that Zündel did not tell Grödig officials "the entire truth" about his role in possible match-fixing. Taboga reportedly sent Zündel a text message in early 2013 before a game against Kapfenberg asking if he wanted to become involved in a "project." Zündel said he told Taboga that he did not want to participate in match-fixing.

Zündel has played in 15 of 16 league games for Grödig. Haas said the other three players questioned by police – Mario Leitgeb, Peter Tscherenegg and Stefan Nutz, have the full trust of the team and will be available when the club take on title-holders Austria Vienna on Saturday.

Grödig, who are named after the Salzburg suburb in which they play, have been a surprise success this season in the Austrian Bundesliga. They currently sit fourth on the table after securing promotion to the top flight last season.

dr/se (dpa, SID)