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Match fixing in Soccer
May 24, 2012 8:15 PM   Subscribe

"The World's most popular game is also its most corrupt, with investigations into match fixing ongoing in more than 25 countries. Here's a mere sampling of events since the beginning of last year: Operation Last Bet rocked the Italian Football Federation, with 22 clubs and 52 players awaiting trial for fixing matches; the Zimbabwe Football Association banned 80 players from its national-team selection due to similar accusations; Lu Jun, the first Chinese referee of a World Cup match, was sentenced to five and a half years in prison for taking more than $128,000 in bribes to fix outcomes in the Chinese Super League; prosecutors charged 57 people with match fixing in the South Korean K-League, four of whom later died in suspected suicides; the team director of second-division Hungarian club REAC Budapest jumped off a building after six of his players were arrested for fixing games; and in an under-21 friendly, Turkmenistan reportedly beat Maldives 3-2 in a "ghost match" -- neither country knew about the contest because it never actually happened, yet bookmakers still took action and fixers still profited." [All the world is staged: Bribed players, fake games. Criminal syndicates can fix any match, anywhere.]
posted by vidur (34 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ah.. so that is why the kid was allowed to score a goal in that earlier FPP.

Bet seriously, sheesh
posted by edgeways at 8:18 PM on May 24, 2012


Soccer? I thought this was going to be about World of Warcraft!
posted by Wataki at 8:30 PM on May 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


They were fixing friendlies. Who the hell bets on a friendly? Are you out of your goddamn mind?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:37 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Organized professional sports is a mirror of the corporate world, the way it's organized with teams of talented people working together against the competition, with boards, owners, funding etc. it reflects the dark side of corporate behavior too, corruption, cheating, bribes. At the most base, or pure form, devoid of any regulation, essentially organized crime and private armies.
posted by stbalbach at 8:37 PM on May 24, 2012


Too much money.
Ruins.
EVERYTHING.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:40 PM on May 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


"I thought this was going to be about World of Warcraft!"

Well, I thought it was going to be about EVE.

But yeah, as someone who has really gotten into soccer over the past few years this is a mess. Makes the NFL "bounty" scandal look like child's play.
posted by bardic at 8:58 PM on May 24, 2012


" Once the match is fixed, the Chinese triads use betting sweatshops across Southeast Asia in which rows of workers sit in front of computers placing $3,000 bets as fast as their fingers can type."

"betting sweatshops"

Well, honk my hooter; now I've heard it all.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:00 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


chu-huh, like turkmenistan could take the maldives, in your dreams baby
posted by facetious at 9:02 PM on May 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


"The World's most popular game is also its most corrupt,
I thought this was going to be about farmville.
posted by delmoi at 9:05 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


In addition to the above jokes (which I seriously thought, too),

"The World's most popular game is also its most corrupt"

... is pretty much a tautology, given human nature.

Interesting FPP, well worth posting, but I'm just sayin'... It's a bit like saying there are more extramarital affairs in China than in any other nation in the world!!! And the island nation of Nauru has the fewest!
posted by IAmBroom at 9:39 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Holy crap, someone HAS to do a movie documentary about the ghost match, it's just too good a subject to let it pass. Erroll Morris, you there?
posted by Iosephus at 9:45 PM on May 24, 2012


Wow, fascinating story. FIFA has a lot to lose here--all they've got is their credibility and a few big scandals is all it would take to destroy that. You'd think they would take this more seriously but it seems like they've got their heads in the sand.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:55 PM on May 24, 2012


FIFA has a lot to lose here--all they've got is their credibility
Where have you been. FIFA has never been cursed with an over abundance of credibility.
posted by AndrewStephens at 9:58 PM on May 24, 2012


It's just not cricket.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:00 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


They were fixing friendlies. Who the hell bets on a friendly

Someone who knows the outcome?
posted by Hoopo at 10:05 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Someone has to bet against you for a bet to work. Even if you're betting against the house, the house will set odds to entice a more-or-less equal amount of action on either side.

But friendlies are exhibitions -- the outcome is pointless. That's why they're called friendlies. By their very definition, you can't count on the teams putting forth a meaningful effort. For example, for all you know, the manager is not playing his best team because he has some other agenda besides winning, such as testing out players or lineups for future games that really do matter. They may be fun to watch, but holy fuck, don't bet on them.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:18 PM on May 24, 2012


They were fixing friendlies. Who the hell bets on a friendly? Are you out of your goddamn mind?

Professional gambling syndicates. Who are also known to have an extraordinary interest in very low league football games -- as in, you and your mates in the park at Sunday leagues-- and fixing them.

It's not just trying to profit from dumb suckers being taken for a ride, it's also a way to get rid of criminal income...
posted by MartinWisse at 10:37 PM on May 24, 2012


This is a back door Pete Rose post, innit?
posted by mwhybark at 10:37 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


You guy just don't know how betting works.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:08 PM on May 24, 2012


SURPRISE!

Good thing the MLB has kept Pete Rose out though. Whew.
posted by allkindsoftime at 11:35 PM on May 24, 2012


That's a fascinating article, worth reading even if you have no interest in soccer.

And I agree with Cool Papa Bell. I can see why criminals would want to fix friendlies. I can't see why normal gamblers would want to bet on them. The players aren't trying, the coaches aren't picking their best teams. Why would you bet, given that lack of information?
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:14 AM on May 25, 2012


And I agree with Cool Papa Bell. I can see why criminals would want to fix friendlies. I can't see why normal gamblers would want to bet on them. The players aren't trying, the coaches aren't picking their best teams. Why would you bet, given that lack of information?

Because people are irrational in general? People bet all the time on stuff that's widely known to be heavily stacked against them - likely almost everything in a casino. On these soccer games, even if you know it is fixed, you don't know which way it is fixed. May be it is fixed in your favour?
posted by vidur at 12:45 AM on May 25, 2012


Hard to believe the idea that "criminal syndicates can fix any match, anywhere." EPL? Big leagues in Spain, Italy, Germany?
posted by ambient2 at 1:41 AM on May 25, 2012


EPL? Big leagues in Spain, Italy, Germany?

Italy? Yes, and yes again. Germany? Yes too (although maybe not in the top Bundesliga). Spain? Quite possibly. England? Hmmm....

Also, some would argue that those big leagues are criminal syndicates in and by themselves. Certainly they seem to attract all sorts of colourful characters...(the exception being the Bundesliga, thanks to its 50+1 rule).
posted by Skeptic at 2:07 AM on May 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


ambient2: well, we know that clubs were fixing games in Italy, and there was match-fixing across Europe in 2009, including Germany. Bruce Grobelaar (former Liverpool goalkeeper) was accused of match-fixing. There were allegations that floodlight failure in various English games was due to match-fixing. So definitely possible, I think.

vidur: On these soccer games, even if you know it is fixed, you don't know which way it is fixed. May be it is fixed in your favour?

Sure :). I 'm more surprised that people bet on friendlies at all, though. If I'm betting on a team in the regular season, I'm going to think I'm smart enough to make money, by predicting a likely result. I know the players are trying, I know the manager has picked the best team. But a friendly? I don't know who will be in the team, I know they won't be taking it seriously. Much harder to predict. I'll agree with you that irrationality is the best explanation.
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:09 AM on May 25, 2012


There were allegations that floodlight failure in various English games was due to match-fixing

Was just going to post that... remember them at the time as being hilariously blatant

They were fixing friendlies. Who the hell bets on a friendly? Are you out of your goddamn mind?

It's probably a lot easier to fix a friendly than a match that really matters
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:01 AM on May 25, 2012


Also people will bet on anything....Oscars, Eurovision Song Contest, X-Factor. (Remembering the bit in Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell where, back in the days before global betting when you can only bet on local sporting events, freak cold weather had meant all horse racing had been called off and Bernard and his cronies had been forced to organise cat races to feed their addictions)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:06 AM on May 25, 2012


Also people will bet on anything....Oscars, Eurovision Song Contest, X-Factor. (Remembering the bit in Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell where, back in the days before global betting when you can only bet on local sporting events, freak cold weather had meant all horse racing had been called off and Bernard and his cronies had been forced to organise cat races to feed their addictions)

And do not forget sermons...
posted by Skeptic at 3:14 AM on May 25, 2012


> Also people will bet on anything....

IIRC, this book (which is great) has anecdotes about guys betting on drops of rain running down a window.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:04 AM on May 25, 2012


It's just not cricket.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:00 AM on May 25


It's not just cricket, you mean... ;)
posted by andreaazure at 6:37 AM on May 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


More corrupt than boxing????
posted by Thorzdad at 6:44 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now I am wondering if the Las Vegas casinos take action on NFL exhibition games. That seems like it would be totally ridiculous but I am sure they would do it if they could make money on it. Does anybody know if they do this?
posted by bukvich at 8:18 AM on May 25, 2012


Now I am wondering if the Las Vegas casinos take action on NFL exhibition games. That seems like it would be totally ridiculous but I am sure they would do it if they could make money on it. Does anybody know if they do this?

Vegas accepts bets on the opening coin flip for the Super Bowl. I'm sure someone there does.

A quick Google suggests that a whole bunch of websites want you to think that Vegas takes bets on preseason games, but the search results page is as far as I'm willing to go at work.
posted by Copronymus at 8:24 AM on May 25, 2012


But a friendly? I don't know who will be in the team, I know they won't be taking it seriously.

Unless it's something like the first post-WC2006 'friendly' between Italy and France ;)
posted by ersatz at 4:08 PM on May 25, 2012


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