Ander Herrera could be slapped with jail time in his Spanish homeland due to his supposed role in a match-fixing scandal.
The Manchester United star is running the risk of being handed a four-year term behind bars, according to the Daily Mail, amid accusations from La Liga prosecutors that he was involved in the illegal activity during his time with Real Zaragoza.
First-time offenders in the Iberian nation usually find themselves handed a two-year suspended jail sentence if they are found guilty of committing a crime – a factor that would normally lead to Herrera managing to escape going to jail.
However, the 28-year-old – alongside 35 other indicted individuals – could be handed tougher punishments than the apparent two-year jail term and six-year football ban that is set to be handed down by Spain’s courts, as well as harsher fines of £2.56m each.
Lawyers for Spain’s top flight have lodged papers to Valencia’s Court of Instruction Number Eight over the under-suspicion May 2011 encounter between Zaragoza and Levante, which ended 2-1 to the hosts and resulted in Zaragoza retaining their top-flight status at Deportivo La Coruna’s expense.
Levante is suspected of deliberately losing the contest after they were said to have been paid around £850,000 by Zaragoza.
Not surprised out of all the players it’s Herrera…
dirtiest player in the league atm, constantly diving , moaning , making horror tackles .. the whole nine yards
— Mark Greg Sputnik (@FunkmanB) February 27, 2018
That cash is believed to have come from nine players reimbursing Zaragoza after they had initially been handed the money themselves.
Former star Gabi stated back in October 2014 that he had received a payment of £65,000, but gave it back to Zaragoza as he assumed it was to do with club business.
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) February 27, 2018
— 🔮 (@Aboodinho123) February 27, 2018
He told the Guardian at the time: “I did what (ex-owner) Agapito (Iglesias) asked me.”
The case was reopened after a lengthy investigation three years ago, with Valencia-based judges accusing those questioned over ‘inconsistent’ and ‘contradictory’ statements provided in evidence last time out.
Herrera has consistently denied his involvement in any monetary trades between the clubs or himself, with the midfielder again protesting his innocence earlier in February as the new information came to light.
Espn’s story in the US claims that all jail terms would be under 2 years so they’d be unlikely to serve, however they’d come with a 6 year ban from soccer- that’d be him done I think. hope he’s cleared.
— David Beall (@JATmallet) February 26, 2018
He said: “As I stated back in 2014 when this issue was raised, I have never had, and never will have, anything to do with manipulating match results.
“If I am ever called to testify in a judicial hearing, I will be delighted to attend as my conscience is totally clear. I love football and I believe in fair play – both on and off the pitch.”