Saturday, February 09, 2013

Match Fixing in Football

I am sure you have read about the recent controversy surrounding Football. Match fixing of gigantic proportions! As many as 380 matches are thought to be fixed in Europe and some matches involve the prestigious UEFA Champions League. All this when the German Police were trying to unearth the German prostitution racket! Here's a background in case you have missed it -

What happened? Soccer matches being fixed.

How big is the fixing? About 380 matches are supposed to be fixed in Europe and 300 more from other continents (as per Europol). German Police claims to have evidence for about 150 of them. Almost 425 criminals, players and match officials are supposed to be involved.

Who's behind the fixing? The epi-center of match fixing appears to be originating from Singapore. The leader of the group was apparently jailed in mid-2011 on evidence that he fixed 20 games which includes a World Cup qualifier.

Is anything proved? No. As on date, these are allegations and not yet proved.

Any top club's name revealed - Liverpool (though the Anfield club are not directly involved).

I must admit I am a bit surprised. Not shocked - just surprised. You see, we have been through all this in Cricket. Cricket's match fixing revelation was shocking and disappointing to me. That incident taught me the power of money over our sporting spirit. Money has the power to buy players. And I don't see why fixing cannot enter club competitions. Players play club games for 2 reasons: To stay fit for important matches (like the World Cup etc) and money - not necessarily in the same order though. Fans watch the games for passion, support and entertainment - necessarily in the same order.
For sports to function and to be shown to a global audience, apart from players, officials, organizers etc, we need funds. Without funds, sport will only be a local phenomenon. All clubs are driven by money. And when a sport becomes poular, allied businesses mushroom around them. Merchandising, for example. All are means of increasing the revenue. Apart from the club, various other entities earn their share of the business. Some ways of earning money are ethical and some are not (based on which country you are part of). But like it or not, money is the root cause of all evil key reason why sports is what it is today (I am not particularly proud of this statement, but deep down I know it's true).

How else can you explain the introduction of "Strategic time-out" in some T20 tournaments? You really think the players, who normally play for 2 hours at a stretch during Test Cricket, needs some time to strategize while gulping a sponsored drink and the viewers subject to 90 seconds of advertisement time? So, logically thinking, if money is the basic need and primarily controls a sport, it has the power to alter the rules / decisions / results right? And it does. Being a sports fan, you can only hope such things don't spoil the game. A futile hope, nevertheless.
How will it affect me - won't affect me at all! The sport goes on. There will be some suspensions, some players / teams banned, some settlements and the sport will eventually survive. I was a fan of soccer, am a fan of soccer and will remain a fan of soccer. Nothing changes there. I am already looking forward to the next EPL weekend and the UEFA Champions League matches and will support the team I follow.

But rest assured, we are in for some interesting revelations as more details emerge.

11 comments:

  1. Ooooh, I heard of this one but not the entire context.. thnx fr fleshing it out man..

    I guess the whole money in sports will just get institutionalized.. think of Super Bowl.. it's as known fr the sport as much as for the ads, so much so that these ad spots are the most expensive in the world..

    Ya, u're right man.. the sport will go on.. :)

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    1. Raj, I would be interested to know how the money would be institutionized in Soccer. I understand the Super Bowl concept and I am sure the same can be incorporated in Soccer too..

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  2. That's pretty sad to hear. Considering the total no. of matches that are alleged to be fixed (380+300), it looks pretty huge. We have had our share of match fixing in Cricket, but this soccer fixing beats the Cricket fixing hands down.

    Since Soccer is the most watched sport in the world, it was time that something this could have happened. Every sport needs money, but the game should never be played for money. Hope this scandal will help in cleaning up things.

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    1. Prashanth, dont go by the number yaar.. Soccer is played the world over. Every week we have 100's of games played at club level. And you are right, Soccer beats the Cricket fixing hands down - only because of the reach of soccer over cricket.

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  3. Sometimes you learn what money can do and it is actually disgusting. The spirit of the game fades away. I thought this was only for Cricket, epicentered in India, guess it's viral.

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    1. Ashwini, whenever money and sport collided - money has always won, sadly! But as is the case, the game will go on..

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  4. We also have some match fixing in Norway some months ago. I think it's still under investigation..

    Hope you have a good time over there:-)

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    1. Tania, I think the investigation will remain forever. Not sure if we can expect any result here.. :D

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  5. Your 'how it affects me' sums it all. I guess somewhere we all know about the fixes, but the passion for the game makes the viewer ignore this and watch for fun!

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    1. Yes Jenny.. let the games go on.. We all need it for our weekend dose of fun :)

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  6. It was always a possibility, it`s a shame how far the things have gone. I ask myself, where is the thrill of the game if you know beforehand the outcome of the match. I remember the days when players were real passionate about the game and cried if a match was lost, they were disappointed of all the hard work that did not managed to get them a win. Nowadays, it does not even matter, all superficial and pointless. But, football will still remain one of the most popular game of the world.

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All yours..

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