Just how big is the football, money laundering, match fixing issue? What the papers say.



By Tony Attwood

My article Switzerland, Fifa and the crooks. Have they all been involved in anything else? had only been on line for 15 minutes before I started receiving links from interested readers in Europe, pointing me to more and more articles about the extraordinary engagement of the Mafia in Switzerland.

Of course, I want to be clear on two things before I go on.  First, and very obviously I don’t have any personal knowledge of these matters – I am just picking up what is being said in the media across Europe.   It is not a topic the UK’s media wants to know about – but that is often the case with stories Untold runs.

Second, no one else is making a football connection with today’s reports about the mafia in Switzerland.

Our last big series on match fixing began in October 2019, with the headline Exclusive: Uefa admit match fixing is now too big for them to fight it.    And I knew “Exclusive” was a safe claim because no one in the UK was touching the story.

And what a story it was!  Uefa admitting that they could not deal with match fixing by themselves and wanted agencies experienced in such matters to help.   This was followed by several other articles from Untold, but very few people took any notice.   I’ve listed the articles at the end of this piece in case you are interested.

So now we have two issues: a view that the mafia has moved into Switzerland, and a clear view from Uefa that match-fixing is rampant.

Of course, of course, of course I can’t prove the two are connected.  I don’t have any contact with the mafia, and Untold doesn’t have the resources to mount an investigation; that is a laughable notion.

But just ask: in which international enterprise has the big, big, big money sloshing around often uncontrollably?

Or try this: which international body based in Switzerland has been associated with criminal activity at such a level that American armed officers moved in and arrested members at a gathering?

Or how about which international body based in Switzerland has found its previous hierarchy engaged in criminal activity, and is now engaged in a battle which has already seen the head of the Swiss legal system removed from his job?

And which country is talking about mafia engagement in the country all the time?  Take for example this headline from Blick?

The mafia is rampant in Switzerland: The situation is extremely serious

It continues, “The Italian mafia is well and truly established in Switzerland…. In November, the Italian “carabinieri” arrested over 100 members of the ‘Ndrangheta. It turned out that the mafia members in question were using Switzerland as a base and transshipment point for their drug and arms trafficking.”

Or try this from RFJ

“Switzerland needs to do a better job of fighting the mafia, according to former federal prosecutor Rosa Cappa. To do so, specialized police units and stricter laws regarding mafia assets must be put in place.

The situation in Switzerland is very serious.  Thirty years ago, the mafia only brought us their money in their bank accounts. Today, its members live among us, they have settled down.’

Ms. Cappa, now a lawyer in Ticino, spoke of some 20 mafia cells in Switzerland. According to her, the mafiosi and their families infiltrate the economy by investing in restaurants, hotels, buildings and businesses in order to launder money. They are also integrated into society: they live in villages, go to church and are active in associations.

So we are being told that there are two major problems in Switzerland.  On the one hand Fifa is constantly in the dock over its behaviour.  You might remember that in May 2018 Rui Pinto, the man behind the Football Leaks revelations, (which revealed all the details of the Manchester City payment manipulations which led to the Uefa case against Manchester City, and which in turn failed because Uefa for an inexplicable reason left it too late to mount its case), revealed that Michael Lauber – the most senior legal official in Switzerland – had secretly met FIFA President Gianni Infantino (the man he was supposedly investigating) in March and April 2016.  Labuer has now fallen and is under investigation.

And there are multiple stories circulating about mafia involvement in Switzerland, weird though that sounds to English ears.

Now throw in a third level of action: Uefa admitted two years ago that match fixing in Europe had got totally out of hand and it couldn’t control it any more.   (Untold covered that, the UK media didn’t).

On 27 May 2015 seven Fifa officials were arrested at the Hotel Baur au Lac, Zürich, and as ever the English media were shocked.  (If they had read Untold in the months before they would have seen that the event was about to happen).

But maybe I am seeing connections which are not there.   Infantino / Luber; match fixing out of control; seven officials arrested; Swiss most senior judicial officer removed over Fifa affair; Swiss media full of talk about the mafia having infiltrated their country; English media refuse to touch the story for fear of….

Nah…. maybe it’s all coincidence. Same as with, Switzerland take a greater interest in Fifa – at last.

Of course I can’t provide evidence.  I just have a group of friends who tip me off about what is openly and widely being discussed in the European papers.

3 Replies to “Just how big is the football, money laundering, match fixing issue? What the papers say.”

  1. Too many facts. Too much money. Too many languages.

    Keep it simple.

    The abiding genius of the criminal class – Take the world’s greatest game that anyone can play and instinctively understand. Turn it into the permanent never-ending diversion that you can watch while you and your kids are permanently fleeced by your rulers. Turn that diversion itself into one of the world’s biggest money pots.

    The wilder reaches of absurdity – Riley of Leeds cannot find a referee out of the fifteen to eighteen million people in the South-East of England so he imports one from Australia.

    The abiding beauty of football – the moments of it last longer than the results, than the corruption.

  2. Obviously more should have been added to the above. My apologies.

    A good many of us read different language newspapers every day. I read the Danish. What gets printed in Denmark is far wider than what gets printed here in the UK.

    What this site identified some years ago – how the reporting of football has become the reporting of politics, the footballisation of political discussion it can be called – has taken us, in the UK, into some very murky waters.

    People who follow football outside the UK can follow the details of the Swiss cases but they can still bet online on EPL games and we, in the UK, who make the EPL possible, available across the planet, cannot ever get any knowledge of how many of those EPL games are being fixed.

    We cannot, from our media, even get an examination of how PGMO appoints its referees.

    We get – apart from here on this site – the usual parade of the permanent diversion. Your club, my club, through the year.

    Football as a sport played in villages which is, simultaneously, the world-beating Premier site for the best TV football to watch and the best football for a flutter, or more than a flutter.

  3. A consequence of Brexit is that England loses its identity. Instead of being a country that could be found within a union of other countries, all the countries singing from the same page when it came to standards, values, it decoupled, and positioned itself ‘where?’

    Nobody knows. Everybody has a different narrative. Nobody knows what Brexit meant, nobody knows what history is. Divorced from everything except delusion, eating a fastfood diet of EPL driven allegiance, forced to take one day at a time, one game at a time, no longer able to take a long journey across Europe and watch football, talk with different supporters, see a game from multiple angles, the combined consequence of Covid and Brexit twisted together leaves us corkscrewed deep into the arse-end of nowhere.

    Tony does a great job keeping this site going because it continues to ask questions. Whether we will ever get answers is another matter, at least with Untold Arsenal you get a skiff for a ride.

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