By Tony Attwood
So far in this series:
- Is football fixed? Part 1: The logical reason why we might well think so.
- Is football fixed? Part II: why we need to have change
I had already written the two previous “Football is Fixed” articles that appeared yesterday, when the news came in that the match on the last day of the Spanish season between Valencia and Valladolid was apparently fixed. Valencia won to get a place in the Champions League. For Valladolid the match was of little significance, having already ensured that they were safe from relegation.
In this case apparently seven players in the Valladolid team were bought, to ensure that they lost 1-0 in each half. Police who were suspicious had been arranging phone taps for six months, following concerning in the 2017/18 season about another match.
El Mundo has been publishing the story which shows that defender Raúl Bravo, once of Leeds United, is accused of being involved in organising the affair.
It is not clear what the motive was. There is a lot of talk of gambling, rather than Valencia managing to gain a place in the Champions League, and on the face of it, that appears to be more likely given that Type I match fixing (in which a club bribes the referee and/or players of the other club to let it win) is notoriously difficult to keep quiet.
The phone taps apparently reveal a voice saying, “Bet €10,000 and you’ll take €20,000.”
Of course that does not prove that Valencia was not involved – they had everything to gain by the win. However it is interesting that the bet was on a win in each half for Valencia, not on a particular score. That does suggest that Valencia was not involved since clearly they would be trying to get the win to get the Champions League place.
Three have been arrested and all have denied breaking any laws, one of the three saying that he had not even bet on the game.
Raúl Bravo is quoted as saying, “Thanks to the local police, the national police, civil guard, judge and fiscal because the truth is that the treatment has been spectacular from the start, they have treated us very well and I can’t say anything more. At trial, who is guilty and who is not will be seen.”
If this was a case of match fixing it was incredibly simplistic – bet on A to beat B and be ahead in each half. Type III match fixing, on which we have focussed our attention across the past ten years, is much harder to spot. It involves someone from team A, setting up a situation (or to be more specific, a referee) so that across the season Teams A, B, C and D lose matches it might have drawn, and draws games it might have won, through refereeing decisions.
The point here is that the quick exposure of this potential match fixing (and of course we must wait for the court decision to see what has actually happened) brings with it the feeling that the authorities are on top of the scourge of match fixing.
But Type I match fixing is so simple to set up. You bribe a number of players in a team for which the match means nothing, to throw the game. Ideally choose a team that is not going anywhere and is not going to win anything. Such players will be earning modest sums compared with their rich compatriots at the top clubs, and may welcome a few Euros more.
Type III match fixing is much more complex, and much harder to spot – although it is what happened in Italy. However each time a possible match fix on a very simple model is set up, then it is covered in the media as the ONLY model of match fixing. Type III match fixing is never mentioned, not even as a possibility. And so the world goes on believing that the authorities are on top of all this, even though the PGMO is run as a secret society, which imposes rules on what the media may or may not say.
And of course maybe the authorities are on top of match fixing in the Premier League. But because of the hyper secrecy of PGMO and their agreements with the media that says that issues surrounding “errors” by referees are not covered beyond the “referee may have got that one wrong” level, the notion that all is well is continued.
Maybe everything is fine. Maybe it isn’t. But the fact that such a number of writers love to denigrate anything we say, and knock all our research, such as the extraordinary 160 game research programme, (which is still available on line on this site), and feel it is important always to knock what we do, makes me think that maybe, just maybe, something is not quite right.
In Spain what is alleged was incredibly simplistic, and always liable to be discovered. But if anyone is engaged in Type III match fixing, what happened in Spain is utterly irrelevant both to their league and our league. It would, as happened in Italy, go totally under the radar.
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