By Tony Attwood
It is one of the central themes of Untold. A theme that the Premier League in England refuses to look at or address. A theme which is backed up by more and more evidence day after day.
A theme that simply says: match fixing is rife. So rife in fact that in October 2011 in desperation Untold even put forward the notion that maybe Arsenal ought to get themselves involved in match fixing since everyone else seemed to be doing it. We also provided evidence for one of the most blatantly fixed matches in the Champions League in November 2010
Now support for that theme has come from Europol. Because it is Europol they focus, as always, on match fixing for gambling purposes, rather than match fixing by clubs who seek to influence referees. So it is not the same as what we look at, but the outcome is the same. Results are not safe, matches are fixed.
A Europol spokesperson has said that Europol has uncovered an crime syndicate (amusing called in the UK press, an “organised crime syndicate” – which begs the question, what would a disorganised crime syndicate look like?) which is based in Asia (they are always based in Asia) that has influenced over 400 refs and assistant refs, club officials, and players.
Europol said matches affected include World Cup and European Championship qualifiers, two Champions League ties plus games in 15 countries, including “several top football matches in European leagues”. However Interpol says they have only seen the tip of the iceberg.
One interesting fact is that for the first time ever they have discussed the profit margin of match fixing. Apparently it is around 40% of the level of investment. Quite a nifty return.
So Interpol is saying that it has uncovered a major international network, but only seen about 10% of what is going on. Officials have admitted that they have been taken by surprise at the scale of the criminal activity. And one spokesperson said that it would be naive to assume that what goes on across Europe is not also happening in England.
They also say that a Champions League game in England is one of 380 matches that they have found to be fixed. Which means that one of Arsenal, Man C, Man U, Chelsea and Liverpool are most likely to have played in the game – although of course they might not have been party to the fixing.
Judicial proceedings are said to be “ongoing” which is why no individual matches are being cited.
Rob Wainwright, director of Europol, said that in Germany £1.73m is believed to have paid to those involved in match fixing. He said also that 50 people arrested so far.
UEFA has said that they would co-operate with the investigation; but then the could hardly have said anything else. But every competition that has been affected will now be seen as less reliable than it was seen previously. If several dozen Champions League ties are being tampered with a season, as seems likely based on the information in the report, then the Champions League is meaningless.
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