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Is football fixed? The final chapter: match fixing in Spain.

By Tony Attwood

So far in this series:

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.”

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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.

4 comments to Is football fixed? The final chapter: match fixing in Spain.

  • Tony, type III match fixing is far too sophisticated for the average yob to wrap their heads around. it requires a certain amount of imagination to understand that if my enemies lose, i win.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    My believe is match fixing could be happening everywhere. In Fifa organised competitions and tournaments match fixing could be happening. Likewise in Uefa, Caf, Commobol, Concafe and others, match fixing could also be happening at these Fifa confederations. It cannot be ruled out that it doesn’t happen in those places that are organising tourney and competitions. Just of recent, an attempt to fix the outcome of this year’s Caf Champions League final to the favour of a Tunisia club side but to the disfavour of a Moroccan club by deliberately disfunctioning the VAR device to hamper the match referee from consulting it was aborted as Caf has order the 2nd leg final match to be replay. And the Tunisian club outfit and it players have been told to return the Trophy and the medals awarded to them to Caf after they were declared the winners after the opposition team refused at 56 minutes into the match to continue playing suspecting the result might have been fixed.

    Match fixing could have happened and could still be happening in the major Leagues of the Premier League, the German Bundesliga and the French Ligue 1. But it can’t be proved since it has not yet been discovered it has happened in these 3 major Leagues in Europe. However, it has been established that match fixing has happened in the Italian Serie A and in the Spanish La Liga and who knows, it could still be happening there. At any rate, for face saving, I think Uefa should ban Valencia from participating in the Ucl next season for their involvement in match fixing and their place be given to the 6th placed club side in La Liga table of last season. But not to the 5th placed club who was also involved in the match fixing episode with Valencia.

    On a different topic that concerns Arsenal outgoing transfers this summer, I’ve come across many media rumours concerning Arsenal summer transfers this summer window. And some opinionists on Arsenal outgoing transfers this summer who have opined that the club should not during this summer window sell any of the club’s 2 marksmen of Lacazette and Aubameyang who have jointly contributed 50 goals combined to Arsenal goals scoring tally in all competitions last season with Aubameyang in particular getting 31 out of those 50. One cannot brush aside what the opinionists have opined in this regard concerning the sales of the 2 Arsenal prolific forwards. But notwithstanding, Arsenal shouldn’t be shy to sell one of their duo forwards this summer. More especially Aubameyang who current selling stock has considerably risen high. Therefore, I implore Arsenal to cash-in on his risen selling high stocks to sell him this summer for the considerably high amount of money to whoever the club side that wants him and can pay the Arsenal asking price but if Auba’ has agreed to join the buying club. Maybe Auba’ will transfer to a top Chinese club side this summer for a mega money wages move and if Arsenal will allow it to happen to collect a multi mega money transfer fee I wouldn’t know.

    Was it Arsene Wenger, the former Gunners boss or Ivan Gazidis, the former Arsenal CEO that facilitated Aubameyang transfe to Arsenal I wouldn’t say. But Gazidis was reported to be at Dortmond for weeks negotiating before Arsenal finally succeeded to sign Auba’.

    Auba’ was brought to the Emirates Stadium when it was noticed that Lacazette alone cannot do the job of scoring the many goals required by the club. So, the club bought Auba’ to help up the antenna in number of goals scoring for the club and he has successfully done that for Arsenal since his arrival to the Emirates Stadium. But does this mean Arsenal can’t sell their current most valuable assets Auba’ this summer to bolster the club summer transfer kitty with sufficient fund? More so, as the club is seemingly cash stranded hanging on to a mere £45m transfer kitty to do incoming transfers this summer.

    I perceive it is not only Auba’ that Arsenal could sell this summer if the club really wants to significantly bolster it’s transfer kitty with sufficient money to enabled it do a remarkable incoming transfers this summer to have a title winning campaign in all competitions next season. By the way, did Arsenal not sell van Persie their lead striker then to Man Utd for £25m with a year left on his deal? So, Arsenal can sell Auba’ too to a Chinese club for at least £70m and reinvest the money to do top striker purchase this summer. Or alternatively, extend his current deal at the club by 2 seasons. But doing this could cause his transfer sell-on fee to fall drastically in the next 2 seasons. Besides, it can’t be guaranteed Auba’ will be prolific for Arsenal in the PL next season scoring another 22 goals as he did last season. Therefore, Arsenal shouldn’t take the gamble to hold on to him this summer but sell him. Among those that should definitely go out from the Emirates Stadium for different reasons different from that of Auba’ to pasture new elsewhere are: Ozil, Monreal and Mkhitaryan.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    For match fixing to be successful , you would need the tacit compliance and acquiescence of the following –

    – The bookmakers – the money men fronting the shady sources.
    – The enforcers – those that make the deals that you cannot refuse.
    – The man in the middle – they who decide the fate of a game .
    – The media /experts etc – they who run the crooked and narrow narrative .
    – The agents /advisers – they who’influence’their clients, but not always to their benefit.
    – The owners /management – those who sell their souls to the devils.
    – The crooked players – the deluded fools who think that they can beat the system.
    – The sheep – the silence of the lambs to the slaughter .

    Have I missed anyone out.?

  • Menace

    @Brickfields – yes. The Law & the judiciary. They allow for some things to be above the Law.

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