Stay Tuned – I will be releasing fresh revelations later this week.
However, for now, here is a quick fact sheet for people interested in the story developing around the Europol press conference on Monday of this week. At the conference, police investigators announced that they had over 400-suspects and over 680 suspicious matches.
Most journalists have played the story straight and simply announced these findings, however, there has been a strain in the media that is trying frantically to downplay the findings at the press conference. Their most frequent accusation is that the police did not ‘present anything new’ or ‘they did not consult sports officials and these sporting authorities are furious’.
So here is a quick outline of the true situation and the underlying factors at play:
Is this a new story?
Damn straight it is. Do not listen to the nonsense being peddled out in the media that ‘this is an old story’.
That line is a classic news-burying job.
This is because it ignores the fundamental question: ‘Is the story true?’
That question is more than answered – we know is that there have been confirmed and widespread fixing of matches in the following countries:
Turkey, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Montenegro. Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Finland, South Korea, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Guatemala and Canada.
Those twenty countries I have just pulled off the top of my head. There are many other cases in other countries.
This is not rumour. We are not speaking about winks from players from Dynamo Zagreb against Olympique de Lyon.
Note that we are speaking about convictions in a judicial court where a judge has banged a gavel and said, ‘This game was fixed.’
Two, there was new material at the Europol press conference. One of the investigators said that they had evidence that up to 150 international matches had been fixed in two years in Asia, Africa and Latin America. He stated that these were national teams playing against each other.
This is a huge story.
There are not that many international matches on that level (national teams). 150 games is a significant proportion of the total matches played over two years. Essentially, that means more than one international match a week is being fixed.
This is a serious governance issue on the part of the organizers FIFA of these types of games. The question that few journalists are asking is given this news – what specific measures has FIFA undertaken to stop these kind of games being fixed? And I do not mean holding another international conference on match-fixing.
Three, for the first time an official body – Europol – has stood up and said this activity is connected to a group coming out of Singapore.
Look, I know that people who read my book and this blog, that is an old story. But over the years there have been few officials who have had the guts to say it loudly and clearly in public.
Why is there a media spin that this is an old story?
There are two camps in the anti-match-fixing industry. One camp centred on FIFA and Interpol are happy to say a lot, but do nothing. They will make motherhood statements about how bad fixing is, but will not take any concrete action.
As you know, I exposed that Interpol is unwilling to put pressure on the Singaporean government to fulfil an international arrest warrant served by Interpol against a Singaporean accused of match-fixing by European police.
The spin comes mostly, although not exclusively, from their chums in the media trying to downplay the activities of the other camp.
This second camp in the fight against match-fixing are the police investigators who have actually done excellent work against the fixers. They have made arrests. They have got convictions. They are on their way to actually taking concrete steps against the people who are corrupting the sport.
Sadly, they have not been aided by many sports officials.
More to come, stay tuned.