by Walter Broeckx
We all live in a perfect football World. Well, that is what we want to believe. Or what they want us to believe. There is no such thing as corruption in football. Games are not sold. Refs are not bribed. That is what we should believe.
Most of you know that I don’t believe in this kind of fairy tale world that the media want us to believe.
Some people will admit that there have been some things that had something to do with corruption. Yes there has been that ref Hoyzer in Germany who confessed in 2005 that he had sold some of his games to betting organisations. But that had to be a one man thing for sure.
Yes there was the Italian football scandal where teams ordered refs to get good results. But you know well that’s Italy. This has to be a pure Italian thing.
And yes there was the problems in Belgium with the Chinese betting companies where millions were put on games in the Belgium second division. And where even certain games in the first division got an abnormal amount of money betted on a very bizarre final score and with the little help of an assistant and the ref the result came as the betting organisations wanted it to happen. Some strange decisions in the final minutes of the game. But, well as the justice department in Belgium is working at a very slow tempo it could take another 10 years before we bring someone to court.
But the Belgium FA got a few people that confessed the practices such as players and coaches who pleaded guilty and who told what had happened. Players where threatened with violence, by members of gambling syndicates, against members of their family if they didn’t do what was asked. Some people got banned by the football authorities but the person who was the brain after the whole thing fled back to China and was never found by the Belgian police. But still you could say this has to be a once in a lifetime thing.
Okay yes there was the Turkish gambling affaire where some 50 people were arrested including some players in the first division but you know this is Turkey.
I could go on. In Holland there has been some investigations, in Croatia, the world cup 2006 when Ghana was named in an investigation, in Asian football there have been many strange things going on. In China where the league start was postponed to send the refs to an anti-corruption training camp. And I think even the most hard denier of anything wrong in football will have heard of Grobbelaar and his practices.
And we all remember Lord Triesman who claimed that Spain and Russia were trying to bribe refs at the world cup and that one country would help the other country to win the organisation of the world cup in 2018.
So there are two groups of people out there. The one that say: nothing is wrong. They say that nothing can be wrong in football as they believe that all the players are pure and good and honest. That all refs are some kind of superman who cannot be bribed. That all the chairman are trustful and nice people. That all managers are pure as gold. And that those gambling syndicates in Asia are just hard working honest man who wouldn’t hurt a fly even if it would land on their dinner. Well this could be true.
And the one who think that there is reason enough to be worried about the honesty in the game. After all it is a game where money rules. And when money rules, the worst part in humanity comes to the surface. Some people would do anything for money. Recently we have seen a few examples from persons that one could call important personalities. Like a Chelsea player that accepts money to show people round where they shouldn’t come or a former princess (forgive me if she still is one as I am not that good in those things) that accepts money to introduce people to her former husband. How much money you have doesn’t matter in fact. Some people will just do everything for even more money.
But if you believe in the first option, the nothing is wrong thinking, than I have some bad news for you. Because if nothing is wrong then why should we take any measures to prevent that something could go wrong? If everyone is pure and good and honest we don’t need to do anything I would think.
Well a few days ago the government in Belgium informed the public that the justice department and the police are setting up a special investigation unit where everyone can phone or write in when they see something strange in football in Belgium. Now if nothing was wrong, why should they bother to set this up?
And also on that same day Fifa declared that, for the coming world cup, they are going to use a Early Warning System (EWS) to detect anything that could be wrong with games in the world cup. Fifa has declared that they will also install a hotline where players, coaches and refs can phone in any attempt of bribery. And Fifa tells it has an agreement with 400 bookmakers to inform Fifa if they see something strange happening. Now if nothing was wrong, if nothing could go wrong, why should they even bother to come up with all this?
So when I see this happening I think it is time to pull our heads out of the sand. If I say that there could be something wrong in football you can laugh with me. Who am I, after all.
But when a justice department organises a special unit and when the most important football organisation, Fifa, does all kind of things to prevent that something might happen during the World cup in South Africa I think this means that even the top of the football authorities knows that there are things happening in football.
In fact I feel happy for two reasons. Fifa acknowledges there are dark forces out there trying to do bad things and they tell me that I was right with what I have said in the past. Not that they did this to do me a favour I think. But yes I feel a bit satisfied with this.
The other reason that I am happy is that I hope that this will have as a result that the next world cup will be played in a fair way. We all love football and we all hope that what we see is a fair game where the result is decided on the field and not in a dark room somewhere around the world.
Temporary editor’s note: As Tony is going away for a few days to get a well deserved rest, I have agreed to take over the operation of the site during his time away . If you have something that cant wait to be published you can send it to this email address email@example.com.
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