Match fixing is certainly not a new phenomenon in the world of soccer, much less sports all together. It stains the sport in the worst way, and now even the every day fan raises his eyebrows along with the hardened cynics when a scandalous scoreline comes down the wire. After Lyon's 7-1 win over Zagreb in the last round of the champions, what was most everyone's immediate reaction? The fix was in.
However, our own Martin Del Palacio why the game could not have been fixed.
It's not just the games in Europe, though, As many of you know, some of the matches in the Gold Cup also raised a lot of suspicion. To which I say, have these people ever watched the first round of a Gold Cup before?
And Serie A? Well...
So, yes, it is a very serious problem. There is too much money involved not to ignore it. UEFA even held a seminar to see what can and should be done to curb it. A great PR move, and they said all the right things --
"To be able to efficiently fight against match-fixing, we are committed to doing everything we can – but we also need the help of the law enforcement agencies and authorities. We need to work hand in hand, we have to act very strongly and in a united way."
UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino
Wow, it all looks and smells great. Except for one tiny little detail.
There are quite a few teams that have associations with online betting and other facets of the gaming industry. Real Madrid has a great big bwin logo on their shirt. Televisa owns two clubs, has the Mexican national team in their pocket, and also counts some gaming companies as part of their holdings. Stoke City's chairman, Peter Coates, is also the founder of bet365. And those are just a few.
I understand that legal betting has been a part of soccer long before I was even born. If the lever pullers are more than willing to allow teams to have gaming companies to own teams, and casinos and online betting sites as shirt and field sponsors, then it seems to me that match-fixing, as awful as it is, may not be as urgent an issue to them as it is to us.