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July 2021

Are corruption stories being censored, or did corruption just stop?

By Tony Attwood

It may be a taboo subject in England, but Uefa are taking it seriously.  “It” being what Michel Platini calls the “scourge” of match fixing.

And although if it is ever mentioned in the English media it is mentioned as something that those untrustworthy foreigners do, but English gentlemen don’t, slowly, very slowly, awareness is growing – although as the time line below for this year shows, it is a bit of a stop/start affair…

3 January 2013:  Match-fixing allegations sweep South African Football Association and questions are asked about matches in the Africa Cup of Nations.

4 February: Fifa demand longer prison sentences for match fixers as news of  700 matches being fixed emerge.

5 February: Paul Put, the Burkina Faso coach who was banned in Belgium for fixing matches, claims the practice of match fixing has always existed in football and is widespread.

5 February:  Debrecen FC confirm their goal keeper was questioned by Uefa officials in relation to a fixed game involving Liverpool.

8 February: Rafael Benitez claims he is surprised about Liverpool match being investigated for match fixing as he doesn’t remember anything unusual about it.

10 February: Europol’s match-fixing investigation confirms the extent of the problem, and says what they have found so far is almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg

19 February: Ben Paterson of betting intelligence company Sportradar’s says 250-300 out of a possible 30,000 European football matches are likely to be fixed each year.

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19 February:  Shanghai Shenhua are stripped of their 2003 Chinese title.  This is the club that Didier Drogba.  They are fined and lose points for thje next season, while individuals get life bans and jail sentences.

20 February: Fifa’s director of security Ralf Mutschke says his organisation is focused on protecting football but cannot stop organised crime groups which run match-fixing rings.

21 February: Italian police arrest Admir Suljic, who is suspected of being a central part of a group involved in match fixing.

15 March:  FA at last acknowledges concerns about Conference South games, but put it all down to “suspicious betting patterns” – in other words blaming the gambling world in order to avoid any investigation at their end.

20 March: David Beckham has to back track somewhat on his role as global ambassador for Chinese football – after questions are put to him about match fixing in China.

And now it is June – and we have… well not much.

The retreat of PGMOL (the body that provides referees for the Premier League) in the face of constant stats from Referee Decisions and indeed from Untold Arsenal, is still symptomatic of the English problem.  PGMOL responded to our enquiries and an attempt to compare refereeing across Europe by closing down their web site and refusing to answer questions.

And so Platini, speaking in England recently, has had a go at everyone involved in doing nothing.

“Six years ago now, in response to this problem of betting, corruption and match-fixing, as well as the problems of hooliganism and doping, I called for the establishment of a European sports police force.

“There has been no response to those calls so far. Given the absence of any reaction and the lack of awareness on the part of politicians, I renew that call today.

“We are not dealing with petty criminals who are looking to make ends meet.  It would seem that we are, in some instances, dealing with mafia-type organisations that are using certain matches to launder money, tarnishing our sport in the process.”

Platini has also spoken again of financial fair play project, saying…
“In order to prevent the current system from collapsing and stop the bubble from bursting, Uefa had a duty to step in, and it will be up to independent bodies to punish the few clubs that have not realised that football can no longer live above the rules.

“I am well aware that, [in the UK] words such as ‘interventionism’ and ‘regulation’ can cause alarm. However, the Premier League and the Football League have themselves grasped the importance of this matter and the need to adopt financial fair play.

“Financial fair play was established in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of European clubs.  The philosophy of this project can be expressed in one sentence and is, above all, simple good sense: ‘Do not spend more money than you make.'”

So there we have it.  A flurry of stories, and then… no action, and the media closes down the case, presumably on the grounds that it will harm their coverage of football, and the readership that results from that.

Still, at least we will continue to make as much fuss as we can. And we can ask the question in the headline: Are corruption stories being censored, or did corruption just stop?

Just stop? No I don’t think so.


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23 comments to Are corruption stories being censored, or did corruption just stop?

  • colario

    president Richard Nixon was exposed because two reporters refused to stop asking ‘the wrong questions’. They did not have the medium of the internet and yet their determination to uncover the truth eventually brought down a president and sent several to prison.

    It would seem there isn’t a reporter brave enough to follow their lead and attempt expose the coverups and corruption that there is in football.

    However if we keep up the blogs like yours and we promote them by referring to them in the media when we get a chance. (In the UK BBC Radio 5’s 606 phone in programme is one good place) The time will surely come when all will be revealed and some if not all will be brought to justice.

  • Adam

    Anyone remember the two games in India (I think) back in 2004 one finished 55-1 the other 66-1. one team had to win by a 7 goal margin and you wouldn’t believe but at half time one game was 1-1 the other 6 or 7 nil. In the end all teams were banned for a year with the Goa FA wanting all teams disbanded, the officials were also punished.

    How bad does it have to get before people open their eyes.

  • Adam

    Colario, there is a reporter who has the balls. When I get back to my own PC I will put a link up.

    This link is about Swiss law and how FIFA have hidden behind a nations lack of law.

  • Norm

    So why does Platini feel he can ‘intervene’ about FFP, but not pile into corruption & match-fixing? Hmmm

  • Adam

    Because they operate outside of FIFA & UEFA, Platini cannot ban an illegal betting syndicate from football, operators are licenced by national bodies as betting comes under national laws. If officials or contracted sports persons are found to be corrupt they can be dealt with by the governing body.

    That’s why Platini has been calling for a sports police force. But a lot of politicians including some UKIP members are against this and have said as much to the EC. They think Interpol should take on the responsibility.

    FFPR is a joint effort between the EC, UEFA and the ECA.

  • Shard

    Are corruption stories being censored? It’s been almost 1 year since this news report about matches in the English Premier League being spot fixed came out? And that only happened because Claus Lundekvam said what he did. What has happened since? People still deny the possibility of corruption, while this apparently went to a FIFA probe, never to be inquired of by the ‘free’ press again.

  • Shard

    Or for that matter, Bryan Robson continues to be a global ambassador for that wonderful Northern club, Manchester United. He was there at the victory parade/ Rednose’s see off. He’s been seen countless times on camera at the ground. Has anyone even mentioned in passing that he was implicated in some immoral, if not illegal, activities in the Channel 4 dispatches program? No, such things are just not done in England.

  • Dec

    Anybody looking for the motherload of skulduggery in football has only to look no further than the loony decision to award the World Cup to Quatar!!!
    On no level could world football be best served by such.
    Everything else pales into insignificance in comparison. The desires of the few will ways outweigh common sense .

  • Look no further than the honest Mike Dean!!!!!

  • Doanythingformoney

    @ Norm
    Could it be that the Global Financial Elite want FFP in order to keep the big teams they own floating on top but don’t want their control of games halted. Snooping and digging into ‘game management’ would make it much more difficult to keep their big teams on top! Sceptic? Well who else is powerful enough to get politicians, police and the media to look the other way?

  • bob

    Have the Corruption Stories been Stopped? Well, have they actually all been aired. The very good Another Arsenal Blog reminds fans of the dastardly doings of Don Fungus, that have been well buried in the catacombs and remain a tale of Untold Corruption:

  • bob

    Another Untold Concern on the potential for dirty laundry is the dodginess of the Vietnamese land-grab outfit that has or is attaching itself to the Vietnam leg of the grand summer tour. This was brought up already hereabouts with no follow-up as yet. Untold has often been at the ready, if not keen to airing hints and allegations (without data) about the purported dodgy state funding and bank links of the Barfa and Real. As the high ground and perceived purity does matter to many fans, would there be anything worth airing about any of the hints and allegations (without data) about the nature of this would-be or is it now actual partner’s business activities and its ties to our summer tour in Vietnam? I surely don’t know; but it’s come up and whilst all football things corrupt are regular aspects of Untold’s coverage, perhaps there is reason enough to look a bit into whether there’s fire where there’s been smoke when it also comes to AFC. Our perceived and actual moral stature is part of what gives AFC standing and following in the hearts and minds of our extensive fanbase. It would be folly and wrong to allow anything like a dodgy short-term business partnership to commercially devalue our brand and, more important, to emotionally and morally devalue our team.

  • steven

    Calm and quiet on here, no major bitching, no sterile disagreements about you-know-who, everyone keeping their powder dry, all of us waiting for the summer spend (or not). What do we all (or most us) agree about? My top five list is: (a) the current squad is only a basis. (b) several quality and a couple of exceptional players are needed to match up to the best. (c) the Club has the finance and resources to achieve this. (d) another season of low ambition, of non-contention would accelerate the Club’s decline. (e) we deserve more openness – starting with Red & White and AST members on the BoD.

  • Adam

    Andrew jennings on Brazil ESPN, worth it.

  • Gf60

    Add this to the FIFA transparency!
    Another Andrew Jennings.

  • bob

    “(e) we deserve more openness”
    Amen. Starting anywhere, imo…

  • bob

    Mandy Dodd,
    That’s a great one, your link on Moyes v Fer(iley)gus.
    Surely Moyes as long come around to embracing the power that is, as this (at the time brave, if understated) gem of his shows: “A member of the press asked me if Mike Riley was a Manchester United supporter and I think that’s something you would need to bring up with the FA,” Moyes said. “If you’re saying that he is, you’d hope the FA would look at it. It is something that one or two managers would have something to say about.”

  • bob

    Mandy Dodd,
    And of course:
    “Moyes has an uneasy history with Riley after the referee controversially awarded a penalty during Everton’s final match of the 2002-03 season, also against Manchester United, which cost the club a place in the Uefa Cup. A spokesman for the FA said the choice of official would stand. “All our referees are fair, unbiased and objective,” he said. “Mike Riley is one of our top officials and we are 100% confident he will do a good job on Sunday.”
    Of course that’s how the Guardian would end its article, giving the last word to the FAlls. Btw, do you know the outcome of this Everton/MU match?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Amazingly, Everton won that game on pens, and to add to the general astonishment, Riley refused Utd what looked like a pen when Jagielka took one of their forwards down in the area. Maybe Moyes words had effect! Quite signficant though that a relatively high profile manager at the time raised what everyone in football has been saying. Will be very interesting to see how Moyes gets on with the PGMOL from now on, was the refs stance in recent years about manager or club…or even both?