by Tony Attwood
One of the great things about running a blog like Untold Arsenal which for over a decade has been digging into issues that everyone else ignores is the fact that people who are kind enough to read what’s here then often come up with other information, or even supporting evidence.
So, if you have been following the story thus far, you’ll know that Uefa has put out a statement which says that match fixing is growing at such an alarming rate they cannot cope with the problem on their own. Instead they are now seeking help from private companies, and inviting organisations to come up with plans for monitoring football matches and spotting fixed games.
They would then present the evidence to Uefa who will decide what to do next.
As I have pointed out one of the most interesting aspects of this story, which was widely covered in the European press, is that it has not been covered in England by the media at all. But it was all there in quite big writing and in English for anyone interested.
Here is how one European paper covered the story. There is a pay wall but you can see enough (if you speak French) to show that they are providing news totally censored by the English media – I suspect under instruction from an English football organisation.
Now that is interesting because we have been raising questions about match fixing in England for some ten years, pointing out how sophisticated it has become through the adoption of “Type Three”, how when we investigated 160 consecutive Premier League matches we found a large number of incidents that did not look right, and how England is one of the few countries in Europe that has a policy of utter secrecy in terms of refereeing issue – via PGMO.
We could also add that the way the media reports refereeing issues has changed. We’ve noted before how BBC commentator Alan Green would previously often comment on refereeing “mistakes” and how then he suddenly stopped doing this, seemingly because he was under orders.
Now we have another report: this being the first report of the Independent Sport Integrity Hotline which gives a snapshot of integrity breaches, and allegations of corruption and abuse.
Their press release says that “More than 240 allegations of corruption in sport have been reported to the Sport Integrity (SI) Hotline, highlighting a significant number of match-fixing, internal corruption and sexual abuse issues.”
The SI Hotline was established in 2018, by the International Centre for Sport Security, to provide a safe and secure whistleblowing platform dedicated to reporting misconduct in sport, and it has now issued its first summary of reported cases showcasing the scale and scope of integrity violations impacting global sport.
And although I am sure that the media in the UK will ignore it, coming fast on the heels of the Uefa report, it makes worrying reading, showing as it does that football is the sport most affected by allegations with 87% of the reported cases.
As for the most regularly reported types of crimes match-fixing, money laundering and internal corruption are right there at the top of the list.
They also say that the types of crime reported include terrorism, tax evasions, and player trafficking – issues that Untold has been highlighting for years – although I must admit feeling quite often that we have been on our own.
Explaining how they work, the ICSS report says,
“Once a case is submitted, an integrity expert at the Sport Integrity Unit (SIU) will analyse the alleged information to verify for authenticity. As content verification is the most challenging part of the investigation, the process goes through multiple checks for the authenticity of the report before the SIU determines to involve the relevant authorities and law enforcement agencies, this is done by way of an SIU Integrity Alert. Throughout the reporting and case management process, strict precautions are taken to protect case confidentiality and the anonymity of the whistleblower.”
For more information on Sport Integrity Hotline and the whistleblower process, please visit; http://theicss.org/sport-integrity-hotline/
So here we are: the story is spreading and growing across Europe, but is not being reported very much if at all in England. Maybe it is true that everyone in newspapers and broadcasting all individually thinks this is not a story. That could be. Or it might just be that the rules under which broadcasters get permission from the PL to work, and journalists get permission to be in the press box, prohibit any talk of match fixing – even when Uefa says that the situation is growing so fast they can’t keep up.
The latter case seems more likely to me, but I guess that is just because I somehow don’t take everything the PGMO says at face value. Not because I have ever caught them lying, but rather because I prefer openness to rampant all encompassing total secrecy.
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