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Southampton again cited in illegal gambling incident, but who on earth can investigate?

By Tony Attwood

Fifa has announced it will investigate the spot-fixing claims of Claus Lundekvam, the former Southampton defender who has claimed that he, his Southampton team-mates and opposing captains were involved in betting fraud on a significant scale

Meanwhile FIFA president Sepp Blatter has admitted that he did know about  bribe payments made to former FIFA executives, but insists he didn’t think they were illegal at the time.  (This following a Swiss court publishing its findings following an investigation into alleged illegal payments made by FIFA marketing partner International Sports and Leisure to former FIFA president Joao Havelange, and former executive committee member Ricardo Teixeira.)

So here we have a report which finds that Havelange had received at least 1.5 million Swiss francs and that Ricardo Teixeira was paid at least CHF 12.4 million from marketing partner ISL – all during Blatter’s reign – and Fifa and Blatter say they will investigate the latest scandal involving football in England!

Claus Lundekvam has confirmed that players deliberately manipulated set pieces such as corners and throw-ins in order to make money. A statement from Fifa said: “Fifa is monitoring this issue and involved its chief investigator in England. Once all information is known it will be decided who is leading the investigations.”

Lundekvam meanwhile told the Norwegian TV station NRK: “For a while we did this almost every week. We made a fair bit of money. We could make deals with the opposing captain about, for example, betting on the first throw, the first corner, who started with the ball, a yellow card or a penalty. Those were the sorts of thing we had influence over.”

In 12-years at Southampton Lundekvam (the club captain) made more than 400 league appearances. However some players were clearly kept in the dark.  Francis Benali, for example told BBC Solent: “I can say categorically I have no knowledge of the betting allegations made by Claus… I wasn’t aware of it going on in the past so I certainly don’t know of it going on now.”

Matt Le Tissier, also at Southampton, however admitted in 2009 that he had once been involved in a failed spot-fixing coup. He admitted betting on the timing of a first throw-in and attempting to kick the ball out of play in a proposed scam in a match against Wimbledon in 1995, the year before Lundekvam joined Southamption.

Fifa, the Football League, the FA at that time all took no notice, even though the Sky pundit’s comments were published in his book.

So what are we to make of this?  It could be:

a) Low level fixing of spot betting is or was commonplace, and players all knew that no one would give a toss about it.  No points would be deducted, no players banned, no club thrown out of the league.  In fact, criminal activity without fear of reprisal.

b) Attempts to beef up the sale of an otherwise utterly drab autobiography through the invention or expansion of a story.

c) Part of an endemic problem.

d) A side show invented to take attention away from the issue of the extremely odd practices of the PGMOL that runs match referees for the Premier League.

But this raises the question: if there is corruption in football, who on earth could be relied on to sniff it out?

Let us imagine, just for a moment, just for the sake of argument, that some clubs are giving favours to certain referees.  These favours don’t relate to any particular game, but rather are generalised – the use of the French châteaux or Italian villa when needed for the family, for example.   These corrupt clubs then “persuade” PGMOL to let these bought refs do certain games.  In those games the bought refs then just edge matters a little for one side as opposed to the other.  (It is the sort of thing we uncover every week of the year on Untold Referees).

Just assume that for a moment – I am not going to offer any evidence, this is just an assumption….

In this world, who would investigate this problem?

  • Fifa – with their record of corruption?
  • Uefa, with its dreadful record in sorting out issues?  (I know a failure to handle racist issues does not mean that the organisation might fail to handle corruption issues, but one must consider all aspects of past behaviour when considering an organisation’s competence).
  • The FA that has failed to act to investigate Southampton last time around?
  • The League, also failing to investigate Southampton?
  • PGMOL?
  • Sky?
  • Match of the Day?

It is getting hard to know who else might be asked, since it is possible to show that everyone is tainted in some way or other.  Barclays Bank?  Nat West Bank?  MPs with their great record on expenses claims?

Which suggests that in English football we have a real problem.  There is no sports organisation that is so clean, that we might trust it to undertake a rigorous investigation into corruption.

Bit of a bugger really.

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If you think you know your Arsenal, it is time to think again. Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.

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13 comments to Southampton again cited in illegal gambling incident, but who on earth can investigate?

  • DR

    Aye, depressing when you think about it.

    I’m guessing the Italians must have SOME way of investigating it as they always find something, maybe they’re more open about it so it’s easier to prove?

    It’s just another level we have to get to, as a team. We learnt how to deal with the over-physicality, we’re learning how to deal with the bombardier teams and crazy defence, we can learn how to make sure the refs CAN’T screw us over without giving 2/3 penalties a game and it looking very suspicious.

  • Shard

    Is there any way for the Courts to get involved in this? Something like a concerned member of the public putting forth a petition to look into these issues in the game..

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think the only way forward is to ask the Italian investigators who have been doing a great job in Italy to bring all those scandals above water to do the investigation.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Whenever this site brings up the topic of corruption ,we are inundated by trolls who poo-poo off all the hard work.Well ,a can of worms has been opened ,so bon appetit jerks !
    I’m just glad that my country is so far away that no such thing will be possible .We’d not be able to find local billionaires owning clubs there
    or people in upper management in the EPL who could grease palms
    with ,say, free flights ,free trips to casinos or even regular chicken dinners .
    OOOPPSSS !Wait a minute ….!

  • Tony ,what else do we want to prove we have seen it with our own eyes.
    I mean openly its like saying that if my Auntie had bolz even Benitez saw it’ talked about it as did Mourinho.{I know d prof will write a book one day when he retires and that’s when d world will know}
    I just wonder y my brother come back in coaching as some one coasted him his job last time i witnessed.

  • iniez

    Plus if someone or some body was appointed to sniff out any corruption wouldn’t it have to be one of uefa, fifa, the fa who appoint who’s in charge of the investigation? They aren’t exactly going to choose someone that’ll do a good job would they? I agree with @Walter and @Shard, I think some concerned citizen needs to raise the issue and maybe even ask the Italians or some neutral party to do it for them. We can’t exactly ask the corrupt to sniff out their own corruption and expect any results. But still, any progress is good progress

  • iniez

    Looks like there’s some pressure on Blatter, not too sure what to make of it though, could just be talk
    http://www.goal.com/en/news/745/fifa/2012/07/21/3256626/blatter-should-stand-down-as-fifa-president-says-borussia

  • Rog b

    A bit of a bugger? This is a major bugger. There you go Untold, Klaus Lundekvlam’s claims were on the back page of the Sun for only a day,then quietly swept under the carpet. Claims like this you would expect to be all over the media for weeks (at least until the governing bodies made a concrete investigative response to his allegations) haha fat chance of that ever happening. But no,’maybe FIFA will look at it’…maybe?. Pathetic.. Your post ended in the questioning of who would we look at to investigate this? FIFA,UEFA,PGMOL,SKY,BBC the houses of parliament? Their credence is about as solid as George W Bush winning the first election in the USA.It seems to me that only transparent sites such as Untold are the only people capable of approaching matters such as this subject in a clear and transparent manner … ie to get to the bottom of anything,then you need to leave no stone Unturned..Untold? Unturned? Same thing because the people at Untold leave nothing Unturned…Where would 21st century football be without the likes of you? Who knows? For me Untold leaves nothing Unturned, Well done

  • Arvind

    In effect frankly…the world is fkd…all forms of government are the same right now. A gun at the end of it all; in “democracies” the gun comes very late; that’s all but make no mistake, at the end it’s a gun.

    So no…the new world order is…’If there is corruption, do the following’:
    a) Cover it up
    b) Ridicule the methods used to uncover it
    c) Start numerous straw man arguments and propagate it through the corrupt media. Yes ..corrupt media.
    d) Insult and drag up numerous private affairs of all activists and litigators.
    e) Threaten to arrest or arrest the messengers.
    f) Then stay silent for a while, all the time feeding the drooling media loads of negative coverage only about the person who uncovered it. Like Julian Assange ..he of Wikileaks fame.

    Eventually people who don’t really care beyond a point, me included tbf will forget. And corruption continues. And will continue. Until we all wipe each other off in a cyber nuclear war in 50 or 100 years.

    So while I digressed cynically, my point was…no nothing can or will happen. Southampton will get a slap on the wrist, ditto everyone else involved and Sepp Blatter and Platini will spout about the how the “great injustices” of football give it greatness.

    Sorry Tony. I know its a little OTT but it is connected in a way.

  • Rog B – you are too kind sir.

  • Dave

    Who would/should be punished? Arvind: you say “Southampton will get a slap on the wrist, ditto everyone else involved” as if Southampton should get more. The truth is there is probably no-one at the club that was at the club at the time. The club has since gone into admin and purchased by new owners who have completely cleared out and re-built the club.

    Punishing Saints now would be like punishing the owners of a second hand car for a traffic offence committed before they bought it!

    In any respect what clause is saying is that PLAYERS of almost every team in the EPL where involved so why would football clubs be punished.

    My opinion is that you shouldn’t be able to bet on everything that could possibly happen. Maybe the gaming industry should be looked into. Remember the Gran Prix “fixing” scandal effectively the bookies changed Formula 1 from a team sport to an individual one because they argued that driver where fixing races by taking team orders..nonsense

  • Valentin

    That claim was not a new claim, a couple of years ago both Le Tissier and Harry Redknapp acknowledged that it did happen.
    Sky quickly edited and that was never spoken about again. Until Le Tissier mentioned it again. Again Sky News swepts that under the carpet.
    If my memory serves me right, Le Tissier had a bet on the first throw or first corner and was thwarted in his effort by the opposition who were not on it (Southampton lost the toss).
    When the game involving Charlton was postponed then cancelled because of night light being tampered with, everybody blamed a Chinese syndicate, but what was not cleared was who gave them the idea, how they gain access to the fuse box in the first place and where did they bet to make money out of it.

  • Arvind

    @Dave: I just meant…whoever is corrupt will go scot free. The bigger you are, the greater the guarantee. I did not mean that the club should be punished double. Apologies if that came out wrong.