Football match fixing: Ugly face of the beautiful game
Europol, European Union's law enforcement agency has suggested that as many as 680 football matches might have been fixed in recent years. Out of these, 380 matches were played in Europe and the rest in other parts of the world. Those matches were not played in small championships, but World Cup, European Championship and Champions League. Liverpool is among the biggest clubs, whose matches are under the scanner.
These games were fixed by organised crime gangs. The agency also has proof to show that many matches were fixed. One Singapore-based crime syndicate is also said to have been involved in it as well. Most of these gangs are based in Asia and operate with criminal networks in Europe. From around 15 countries, 425 match officials, club officials, players and criminals were involved in fixing European fixtures since 2008, reported AP.
Danish newspaper, Ekstra Bladet claimed that one of the matches that is said to have been fixed was Liverpool's game against Hungarian side Debrecen at Anfield, which the English club won 1-0. It has been stated that the goalie of Debrecen, Vukasin Poleksic was paid to make sure that he let in two goals, which did not materialise. Europol is said to have conducted an-18 month review to find out that a number of matches have been rigged. The investigation about such fixing cases are still ongoing and don't be surprised, if the number of fixed matches witnesses an increase.
USD 21.7 million is said to have been the amount that has been bet on various matches across the world. The highest bribe, which had been offered was 140,000 euros in Austria, reported CNN. With such kind of money involved, there are high chances that players can be easily lured by it. Bribes were paid up to Euros 100,000 for a single game.
We have heard about cricket matches being fixed, but the entire world was surprised when fingers were pointed at the beautiful game of football. With this episode, the beautiful game has come into question.