Former Birkirkara keeper accused of match-fixing sues club at European courts

Goalkeeper had claimed that Birkirkara FC officials, including president Adrian Delia, had 'kidnapped' him last year

Miroslav Kopric (left) signing his Birkirkara contract last year
Miroslav Kopric (left) signing his Birkirkara contract last year

A former Birkirkara keeper who was arrested on suspicion of match-fixing has sued his old club at the European Court of Human Rights as well as the Maltese courts, claiming that the allegations against him ruined his football career and his life.

Miroslav Kopric, a Croatian, was arrested in December last year after Birkirkara FC reported him to the police for suspected involvement in match-fixing. He was held in custody and interrogated for 48 hours but was never charged in court.

Kopric claimed that that seven Birkirkara club officials, including its president Adrian Delia – who is now in the running to be the PN's new leader – had taken him to a garage in Dingli where they demanded that he come clean about the match-fixing claims.

He told Serbian website Kurir that he had told the officials that he had nothing to hide and that they were free to refer the case to the police. The officials took away his two mobile phones and laptop and handed them over to the police to verify their allegations.

Birkirakra FC vehemently denied 'kidnapping' Kopric and said that their officials never coerced Kopric or took the law into their own hands.

In a statement issued today, Kopric said that his laptop, phones and hard disc are still confiscated because the court expert, who checked them, has not yet finished his examination report.

"By the information we got, he is overloaded with work, which is not really our problem, and he has no time to finish what he was tasked,» Kopric said. «It is absoultely unacceptable for us as this whole story is taking far rtoo long."

Kopric said that he has sued Birkirkara FC at both the European Court of Human Rights and the Maltese Courts because the «false accusations» ruined his football career and life and affected his family.

"Beacuse of the stress caused by these lies, my wife spent two months in a hospital for pregnancy complications and gave birth to our twins six weeks earlier,» he said. «My 4-year old daughter has experienced trauma as well as my parents. Beacuse of this false accusations I couldn't do my job for last six months and get paid for it beacuse nobody wanted to hire a goalkeeper that was ''involved'' in match fixing. And I can not prove that I am innocent because one court expert on Malta doesn't respect the deadlines."

Kopric has opened a separate case against Birkirkara FC to FIFA for not paying his salaries.

"The only purpose of me coming to Malta was to do my job and play football, to help FC Birkirkara to achieve their goals and to earn money for my family,» he said. «As in July 2016., when the club made his biggest achievement in the history of Maltese football and passed to third round of the UEFA cup, I was a hero, in December the club accused me for betrayal and ruined my life without any single evidence.

"I was never in my whole life involved in any illegal actions and have never had any problems with the police until I came to Malta and just wanted to do what I like the most- play football."