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Estonian Football Association bans eight amid probe into match fixing

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The disciplinary committee of the Estonian Football Association on Friday imposed a temporary ban on eight persons, seven of whom played in the national league in the past season.

The temporary one-year ban was slapped on Maksim Gruznov, Vitali Gussev, Erik Grigorjev, Aleksandr Kulik, Aleksandr Tarassenkov, Sergei Leontovits, Deniss Jõgiste and Anton Sereda, the Estonian Football Association said.

All of them except for Sereda played in the national league last season.

Four of the players -- Gussev, Gruznov, Grigorjev and Leontovits -- were players of Narva Trans. Kulik played for Jõhvi FC Lokomotiv the last season, Tarassenkov for Kiviõli Tamme Auto and Jõgiste for Tallinna Kalev. Sereda earlier was listed with FC M.C. Tallinn.

The ban is valid for all competitions held under the aegis of the Estonian Football Association and applies to all kinds of football related activity.

"We imposed a temporary ban because the case is one of big volume and collecting information takes time. The disciplinary committee will review the temporary ban immediately after additional evidence has been revealed or after one year at the latest. Similar cases in other national associations too have reached their conclusion in no less than a couple of years," said Aivar Pohlak, president of the Estonian Football Association.

"We are gathering information related to bets in football and are moving step by step -- this is the first decision. We definitely wanted to have it done before the start of the new season. We have consulted with the European union, UEFA, among others, and have received support from them," said Pohlak. He emphasized that the Estonian Football Association has zero tolerance for all kinds of manipulation of match results and expressed hope that all those guilty will get severe punishments.

The first games of the Estonian football league's new season will be played on Saturday.

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