If Match Fixing In Football Generates ‘100s Of Billions’ It Sort Of Implies The Beautiful Game Must Be Rotten Across The Board
Ben Delicious reports from Rome: Well, now we know: throwing matches in football generates hundreds of billions of euros each year for illegal betting syndicates, according to the man who knows what he’s talking about, Ronald Noble, the boss of Interpol. Yep, that’s what he said at a two-day gathering in the Italian capital last week, with all the top dogs from football’s world governing body, Fifa, gathered under one roof. They descended on sunny Rome to discuss corruption in the beautiful game and ways of tackling it. As if no one has any idea that with the sort of money involved these days in football the temptation to fix matches has become bigger than it has ever been. Not to mention that with top footballers enjoying lifestyles more associated with hedge fund managers and top company execs, is it any wonder that they need more and more cash to afford all the trimmings of fame?
But the funniest thing of all is that if we take Mr Noble’s words for fact, and why shouldn’t we, it sort of implies that about half of the matches in premier leagues around the world are probably fixed. Otherwise how would you explain that illegal betting syndicates make hundreds of billions each year? And if that is the case then what is exactly the purpose of staging all those fancy football competitions on all levels? It’s just a charade, a farce that should be wound up and forgotten. It’s really strange that so many fans have not yet figured out that their favourite clubs are taking them for mugs. Can’t they add two and two together when they see a stronger club going down to a lesser team? Shouldn’t be all that tough to crack that one. Not to mention some pretty weird decisions made by referees at all levels.
Personally, I am very surprised that we don’t have regular scandals flaring up concerning match fixing in football. It’s as if no one wants to rock the boat and spoil the party, even though it’s the directors in clubs and their owners who are actually having a ball while the rest are just taken for a ride. Not to mention that it’s a very strange situation we have in professional football where managers are sacked and immediately appointed to run another club, as if it’s some sort of a mafia that doesn’t allow any newcomers to join. Do these unremarkable people know something that makes them indestructible?
The funniest thing about the gathering in Rome is that it decided that the best way to fight match fixing is to, wait for it, educate the young about the perils of getting into bed with illegal betting syndicates. That strange looking man, Fifa Secretary General Jerome Valcke, actually said with a perfectly straight face that without educating youngsters it would be impossible to overcome the problem of match fixing. Does he live in a parallel universe, this man who actually has the nerve to call himself Secretary General, as if Fifa were some serious organisation that deals with matters of life and death. It’s a bloody gathering of dodgy looking individuals who are constantly forced to defend themselves from accusations of corruption.
If you want to get the feel for how out of touch footie bureaucrats are, consider this: last year Fifa announced that it was going to spend twenty eight million dollars on a 10-year programme to battle match fixing and illegal betting in world football. Even though everyone knows that the betting syndicates have a turnover of hundreds of billions. Is it crazy or what?
Professional football and professional sport generally are open to corruption because of the vast money involved and because the people who run all sorts of federations and international sports bodies are themselves not exactly whiter than white. It’s a vicious circle that will only end when we stop treating sport as something sacred and see it for what it is really: a money-making operation for a limited few.