For once I am going to talk about corruption not orchestrated by a bald, non-achieving ringmaster. Actually it is much bigger than that. I really was tempted to write a bit on local bandwagon fans delusions about the Azkals but the football festival that snubbed them takes priority.
For starters a recent article in the New Times suggests FIFA does very little to squelch suspicions of game fixing. The integrity of serious sports is what is supposed to separate them from professional wrestling. Because there is so much money wagered on the matches, big time football is a tempting target for big time syndicates.
What might come as a surprise to some is that a lot of the betting comes Asia’s many unregulated sports betting “venues”. The betting involves the point spread as well as total number of goals. A well rigged football game can be hard to detect. Whether it is intentionally missed shots, penalty kick calls, intentional bad strategy and wrongfully ejected players. The NY Times article goes on to say that estimates of the Asian underground bets at hundreds of billions of dollars annually.
The article gives details of a Mr. Chaibou, a Niger native who they claim helped fix an exhibition match between South Africa and Guatemala in preparation for the World Cup. Chaibou was put in that position by a company from Singapore that was a front for a notorious match-rigging syndicate. This was the conclusion that FIFA came to in their internal report. This particular incident is far from isolated. Europol, the European Union’s police intelligence agency, said that in 2013 there were 680 suspicious matches played globally from 2008 to 2011, including World Cup qualifying matches and games in some of Europe’s most prestigious leagues and tournaments.
Why is a New York Times article in 2014 focusing on a 2010 incident? Because of FIFA’s apparent indifference in investigating. Not unlike Noynoy’s behavior when Eldon Cruz was accused by the Czech Ambassador Joseph Rychtar of extortion. Millions will enjoy the World Cup in Brazil later this month. It is fascinating to think that the outcome may have the same amount of integrity as a certain Pork Barrel induced ouster of a Chief Justice two years ago.
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