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Match fixing continues, but little is being done

By Tony Attwood

It is time for the Africa Cup of Nations to be played in South Africa.  It is also time when world-wide match fixing ought to be reaching the headlines.

To their credit a few papers do mention it, but by and large they prefer to carry on talking up the home nations, and ignoring what is really happening.

Even Fifa isn’t quite as naive as their own report on match-fixing prior to the last World Cup found compelling evidence that at least one, and probably more games involving South Africa in the weeks before the world cup were fixed.

The situation seems to be that South African FA were directly linked to Wilson Perumal and companies such as Football4U and Footy Media.  The company is now seen as a front for Asian betting syndicates.  Mr Perumal is now under arrest having been found in a restaurant in Finland, talking to players.

Fifa referees were seemingly “persuaded”  by Football4U to throw games.  Other members of the South African FA were implicated.

The main events seemed to be incorrectly given handball offences – one of them in the eighth minute of injury time.  One ref from Niger has been questioned for these games and others in different parts of the world.

As Untold regularly reports there are match-fixing issues in China, Italy, South Korea.  Now in addition to the list we can add South Africa and Zimbabwe – the latter again involving Perumal.

The President of the South African FA, plus five officials are now on voluntary leave of absence

The fixed games involve countries from across the world.  From Ecuador against Venezuela to South Africa against Guatemala.

Mr Chaibou, the ref who was involved in many incidents seems to have gone into hiding.  He was the man who refereed a game that was supposedly Bahrain against Togo except that the team put out to play were not Togo at all – although their coach was there.  On that occasion the ref had to keep disallowing goals (so awful was non-Togo) to keep the score at the pre-arranged level.  In another incident a non-game (Turkmenistan under 21s against the Maldives) was fixed, and the result duly sent to bookmakers.

The problem is that while the amount paid in these matches would not interest players in Europe, the sums are life-making fortunes to refs and players who ply their trade in Africa and Central America.   Bets are placed and the gamblers take their winnings.
Perumal eventually fell out with his Chinese paymasters, and was handed over to the police.   But of course the match fixing goes on.
Latvia v Bolivia, Estonia v Bulgaria caused suspicion because of betting patterns.  Local FAs, knowing that they are in bed with an organisation as corrupt as Fifa has been, seem to accept that “odd” results happen.  They don’t fix games, but they just let it go on.

The key fact is that the way these matches are fixed is simplicity itself, and that it goes on and on.  When one person is picked up, another takes over.

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One might almost say that the really bad match fixing using awful refs and betting patterns that can be easily spotted are there to be caught, so that the real match fixing can go on day by day, in the belief that Fifa has caught the crooks.

Real match fixing by refs is subtle – aided greatly by the fact that TV companies covering matches use commentators who themselves don’t know the rules of the game and who refuse even to mention the notion that something untoward is going on.

What’s more, the fixation with betting patterns means that focus is always taken away from the fixing of refs by clubs.  Fixing matches for gambling purposes is difficult, because usually the exact result needs to occur for a pay out.  When football clubs fix matches all they are looking for is a win, or second best, a draw.

There seems to be a feeling in the media that there is no real solution, and that managers make matters worse by complaining about ref decisions.   But that is not it at all.  It is the organisations that run football which at every level are corrupt and fail to deal with this, just as they fail to deal with racism and homophobia in football.

The shame is with Fifa and with every organisation that belongs to Fifa.  I have never suggested that the FA in England is involved in match fixing or ref fixing, but by remaining part of Fifa, they are associated with the crooks.

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9 comments to Match fixing continues, but little is being done

  • John

    It woud be complacent to assume that it couldn’t (or doesn’t) happen here.

    The referee reviews on this site show clear evidence of bias in games, with some consistent patterns emerging. There is no doubt that outcomes are “influenced”, even if it falls short of matches being “fixed”.

    Cetain themes, eg penalties awarded to a certain team, oddities about time added, depending on current scores, and the inconsistent approach by the FA to managers’ conduct (as amply demonstrated during this Christmas period) are clear for all to see.

  • I am inclined to believe that referees are paid to influence the game in favour of one team in THIS country also.

    Where there is big money there is corruption.

    It’s unlikely that there will ever be any evidence beyond the clear bias shown by referees, until the whole profession of refereeing becomes transparent, instead of the top secret affair we have today.

    As for influencing games, it is subtle and very easy. One of the best ways to influence a game is to allow one sides defenders to go through the attacker to win the ball, and penalise the other team for the same thing. It is amazing how much attacking possession is altered by this one tactic.

    Watch out for it next time Man Utd play Arsenal.

  • Lobster

    You’re right about the fact that South Africa is downplaying the match fixing scandal. I found out about it from a foreign newsite (espnfc) and the last time I heard about it in this country was the day after the news broke out, nothing ever since. Its a shame really, we all thought our football had grown up a lot from the fifa WC2010, but this scandal shows we still have a long way to go. And when our best player,Pienaar , retires from international football at a relatively young age, it makes it that little bit harder for us to grow.

  • @Lobster i was in Bloemfontein the year south Africa won the nations cup,prior to that we had a qualifier with bafanabafana and we had this Nigerian ref who gave a penalty while the ball was in the center. Ask Pienaar he could not believe that the Nigerian Twat have given a penalty.Uganda had equalized through Obua, anyway apart from Britain” the rest of the world have seen match fixing.

  • americangooner

    can’t understand how the EPL is guarded against corruption when we have seen cases after cases of corruption. is it that no one has accused the FA and EPL? is it that there hasn’t been any cases of officials caught red handed? If there hasn’t been a single reported case of bribery, then how is the FA shielding corruption? Or is there corruption and all the players, coaches, authorities are ‘keeping the mouth shut’?

  • Al

    Anyone remember the grobbelaar/fashanu/segers saga? Not sure how that ended but some dodgy Malaysian betting syndicates were mentioned. I am still scratching my head why the channel 4 dispatches documentary dubbed ‘How to buy a Football club’ never really got the attention it deserved; there was some eye-opening footage in there, again with some Malaysians thought to be big in the far east betting syndicates involved. I’m not suggesting there’s any match fixing going on in the premiership, and it might just be coincidence that some of the people involved with our game have been linked with these far east betting syndicates.

  • It’s an interesting piece about match fixing but with such a topic you need to provide much more evidence and links.

  • @Al

    Exactly – players caught red handed throwing games years ago. Now we are expected to believe that the syndicates leave us alone in spite of the huge increase in money in the game…

  • ben

    its laughable you complaining about match fixing in africa
    try taking a look closer to home
    city arsenal, penalty for holding that happens at every corner in every game of the season and refs ignore it. today vital game, penalty, red card game fixed for city in first 10 mins of the game. The same city that end of last season who won the entire premier league by scoring 2 goals after thier opposition were told they were safe. FIXED MUCH ??? mike dean and martin atkinson have been fixing games for years, its just these days comments on TV protect refs so much they dont even bother to hide it anymore