In case you missed the headlines, Italian prosecutors and police have charged a large group of players, coaches and club officials for match-fixing. What leaps out is the sheer numbers of people. In September 2005, I publicly warned Europe to expect Asian-style numbers of fixing cases. I have repeated that warning through 7 years and over 700 media interviews. I wrote in detail about the methods, mechanisms and motives of the chief group of Asian fixers who were coming to Europe to corrupt sport. However, even I, a veteran of this field, get overwhelmed at the sheer size and number of fixes.
In Italy, this is Moggi-style corruption on steroids. When the former general manager of Juventus was convicted of corruption there were about a dozen, (admittedly very high-level) people named along with him. In the current case, 52 active players, 4 club officials and 3 coaches are under investigation. For all practical purposes this is almost the entire administration of 3 whole clubs. If you have the club owner, the coach and most of the players involved it is not fixing but theatrical arranging of matches. And remember this investigation is on top of the 17 players arrested earlier for fixing. On top of these arrests – 22 other clubs have been named for possible fixing in an alleged operation that goes back over-ten years.
One sad point. I read through many of the judicial documents around these Italian cases. I noted the dates of some of the alleged fixed matches occurred on the same day that I was doing some of those media interviews where I tried to explain that the corruption was going on as we spoke. It gives no satisfaction to note the irony of the timing.
As for the farce in Turkey. What can you possibly say? A beautiful sport ruined by a gang of thuggish clowns.