By Tony Attwood, (and I rather think this might be an exclusive in the UK – although not in Europe where match fixing is something to be investigated not hidden).
We don’t use the word “exclusive” much here. Indeed the biggest exclusive that we have run – the story that the US police were within the coming months going to arrest Fifa members on Swiss soil – wasn’t even labelled an exclusive, although I suspect it was – at least in the UK. (There are links to that story at the end of this little piece).
And indeed the story that Uefa is struggling in its attempt to take on match fixing is not itself an exclusive at all. In fact it was way back in February 2013 that the New York Daily News ran the headline “Soccer at a crossroads as sport faces epic fight against match fixing”. (Again not a story that the UK media ran – odd that).
That story suggested that 203 games monitored by Fifa in one year were clearly fixed. And that is just the number that were fixed out of the monitored games. The actual number where something is seriously wrong is much much higher. Massive in fact.
But the story didn’t make the English press, and on the rare occasions they do say anything it, is always a case of naughty foreigners and Far East gambling syndicates. Rarely if ever does it go beyond that, to consider what actually happened in the several Italian match fixing scandals that were revealed which had nothing to do with gambling and everything to do with clubs bribing referees through what we dubbed “Type 3 match fixing”. (That is to say where the executives of one club bribe the referee in a match involving a rival, for that rival club to lose).
But now an article in LeTemps, the Swiss French language newspaper has spilled the beans. Their headline translates as
UEFA admits the problem of match-fixing.
“In a statement released Oct. 18, UEFA acknowledges its inability to cope with the plague of fixed matches. The organisation has launched a call for tenders that sounds like a call for help to find ways to stem this growing threat.”
The report (obviously translated here from the French) continues…
“In Europe, the rigging of football matches is booming and taking on worrying proportions. Without much fuss but with surprising clarity, UEFA has announced that fact through a statement on its website on October 18. The governing body of European football testifies to its inability to stem the scourge by itself and calls for tenders running open until Monday, October 28 “to conduct a study to examine ways to strengthen the capabilities of football in investigation and prosecution of match-fixing.”
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Romain Molina, a highly respected independent investigator into the economics of football stated that, “The transparency of the announcement surprised me a lot. This is not a classic speech and a bit vague about the fight against match fixing. No, it must be realized: UEFA is publicly calling for help. There is really a fire burning on the lake. European Union President Aleksander Ceferin even said: ‘We need to do more to aggressively fight match-fixing, because collectively and individually we do not have not enough resources’.”
So they have put the matter out to tender. And in case you are one of those people who believe that Untold makes all this stuff up, and that if any of it were real it would be in the English papers, here we are…
Now this story is in the European and the USA media, but… oh, goodness me, what a total surprise, at least at the moment when I prepared this little piece (26 October) there was not a single sausage, not a smidgen, not a nothing, about it in the English media.
And yes that url above is a link to the real actual uefa site and it has not been hacked. While the entire UK media, the FA, the Premier League and everyone else except it seems little Untold Arsenal is ignoring the subject (and even we’ve backed off quite a bit of late simply because I got fed up with the level of abuse I got from people who for various reasons want to deny even the possibility of match fixing going on) Uefa has been looking at reality (something that the English media know nothing about) and admitted that they can’t stop it.
Here is what they say (in part)…
“The problem of Match-fixing has increased in recent years and, despite the excellent work
done, the capacity of UEFA and other sports bodies to fight it has not grown in line with the
threat. Sport leaders have repeatedly stated that sport itself does not have the means to
effectively counter Match-fixing – only state authorities do – which must be done
“UEFA wishes to select one or several company(ies) for the provision of commissioning external research to be conducted with the objective to evaluate whether international cooperation between football bodies, state authorities, and other stakeholders can be better structured, resourced, and more independent in a more effective way.”
Later they say they want firms to “Conduct a thorough assessment, benchmarking, and extensive consultation process with stakeholders and experts; and provide a detailed and comprehensive report on possible structures to address such challenges detailed therein.
Maybe Untold Arsenal should apply. Or at least make all our research in terms of the 160 games file (still on line at Untold) to show what is going on.
By the time you read this maybe the UK media will have caught up a little, but certainly they are way way behind on this story at the time we published this.
And if you’d like to go back to our earlier little triumph concerning breaking the first Fifa corruption story you might enjoy
and then when all hell broke loose and Fifa were taken by surprise
It doesn’t happen very often, but I do rather enjoy it when we are right.