The awful truth behind soccer fixed matches
Since an illegal organization dedicated to fixing soccer matches was discovered and dismantled in 2013, the world football’s reputation has raised serious doubts. That network was linked to at least 380 games, including some qualifying for the World Cup and the Champions League.
Nearly 425 people, including club officials, players, and criminals from 15 countries, were among participating in this match-fixing network, according to authorities.” This is the work of an organized crime syndicate suspected to be based in Asia and operating with criminal networks across Europe,” Rob Wainwright, director of Europol, told reporters after an 18-month investigation.
“It is clear to us that this is the largest investigation in the history of suspected party arrangements in Europe. We believe we have discovered important results and that is a major problem for the integrity of football in Europe. We have discovered an extensive criminal network.” It was estimated that 16 million euros (about $ 21.7 million) were wagered on matches by criminals. They obtained profits of 8 million euros (10.8 million dollars), with the largest single bribe of 140,000 euros paid in Austria.
Another 300 games from outside Europe, particularly in South America and Africa, were also under suspicion. Most of the international soccer matches involved are national teams from Africa, Asia, Central America, and South America – including two World Cup qualifying games in South Africa and one in South America.
So, the entire fixing match operation is a sad reality. Investigative reporter Declan Hill, the author of the book ‘The Fix: Soccer & Organized Crime,’ describes three ways to set up this operation. The first is the old-fashioned, reliable referee. He wrote:
“There have always been officials who are willing to corrupt games. It is a long tradition in some countries where clubs offer referees money and sex bribes before games” The problem with that method is that it is complicated for the referees to offer an arranged match. They may give unnecessary penalties and red cards, but in the end, their ability to affect a match is limited.
Another method is gathering four or five players from a team to lose a game on purpose. The advantage of this scam is that it makes it difficult for the viewer to identify an arrangement. You have some players who run and give their best, and you have five players who try to run and give their best.
The most pernicious and most effective method is when the person who arranges the match can have the club owner fix the games. Morally it is a terrible thing. However, financially, it makes perfect sense. Knowing that they will lose specific matches, the club owners will bet against their team and earn more money by losing those matches and winning the other matches.
The situation is much better in Europe than in Asia. On that continent, there are entire leagues (such as China or South Korea) that have had to be closed for months while mass arrests were carried out before the sport could continue.