Anyone who tells you that match-fixing is complicated to solve is either ignorant or lying.
Following the Europol press conference and the media hype around it – let us analyse the current fixing situation in international football:
It is very, very simple.
Let us take out ‘football’ for the moment and imagine that we are speaking about bank robberies.
There is a gang that is going around the world and robbing banks. They have stolen money from at least 680 banks in over-20 different countries.
We know the name of the alleged leader of the gang.
We know the address of the alleged leader of the gang.
We know his birth date and his phone number.
Police forces in some of those countries have collected hundreds of pages of evidence against him.
The police forces have gone to the country where he lives with an international arrest warrant and asked the government of that country to arrest him.
His national government has refused to arrest him.
They have come up with a variety of responses, ‘not enough evidence’, ‘warrant not valid’, ‘we are helping [but not enough to make any arrests]’, etc… But basically, they are refusing to act.
It is that simple.
Dan Seet Eng Tan is that man. Interpol, FIFA, UEFA dare not mention his name or even publicly ask Singapore to arrest him.
The Singaporeans are giving them the finger. [Translation for international readers, the Singaporean government is telling the international sporting community to ‘F*** off’’ – and the international sporting community is accepting it.]
This is the situation: do not let anyone tell you any different.
The international response to this refusal is very clear. Instead of putting pressure on the Singaporean government. All the sports officials and the international police force says, ‘We should train the bank tellers!’
Quite why large international institutions are afraid of offending the Singaporeans is beyond me. Singapore is a pretty tetchy country in the sporting world. It is a nice place, full of very good people whom I greatly like – but still in sporting terms, if you told the Singaporeans that they were not welcome at the Olympics because they were harbouring internationally wanted criminals who were accused of destroying sport – few people would notice their absence.
Another note – Sepp Blatter has come out this week saying that most of the 680-cases of fixing announced at the Europol press conference ‘have been dealt with’.
There must have been a huge scandal that I missed. Because I have never seen a FIFA-wide investigation into hundreds of international matches being fixed. These matches are the one that FIFA organizes. This is a fair proportion of the total number of matches that FIFA is directly responsible for.
The real mystery is when Blatter banned the national football officials who were helping the fixers. I must have missed that story as well.
Because if he is saying that a gang of match-fixers arranged hundreds of international FIFA-organized matches, without the help of someone inside the sport that would be very difficult indeed.
Still if Mr. Blatter said that all these fixed matches have been dealt with and all the people caught. We will have to believe him, because Mr. Blatter has such a good reputation.
The thought that there might be all those international fixed matches and no one has examined them is too much.