Dear Friends of Football

I have not put anything on the blog for a few months. This is because I have been working on a new, updated version of ‘The Fix’. It will be coming out in a few weeks and will have a new chapter, and a full press story accompanying it. It should be out April 17… please stay tuned. Or you can order advance copies from Amazon.

However, in the last week there have been new developments in a number of countries including China (FIFA referee facing a possible death sentence for fixing), Turkey (46 people arrested for fixing), Belgium (does it ever stop in that country?) and Italy. I have been interviewed by EPL Talk, the BBC World Service and Noel Butler’s superb ‘Oranges @ Half-Time’ but many other journalists have written articles that have simply been a review of some of the different cases. This is to spectacularly miss the point of what we are witnessing.

So for interested journalists – here is the headline:

There has always been fixing and corruption in sports. In the ancient Olympics outside the stadium there were statues put up with fines by the athletes caught cheating. However, what we are seeing now is fixing at an astronomical level. It is an utterly new phenomenon in match-corruption. It is transforming sports and gambling in the same way that the Internet transformed the music industry. Here is how it works.

Fifteen years ago, the gambling markets of Asia, Europe, North America and the rest of the world were mostly separate. Now with the Internet and international television broadcasts they have come together. A gambler in Shanghai can place a bet on a youth-level football game in Denmark on a bookmaker’s website based in Malta. Many Asian bettors are choosing to do this, because their own leagues have been so destroyed by fixing. (Estimates on how many matches are fixed in Asian football leagues go as high as 70%. Even the Chinese President Hu Jintao has declared that corruption in football is a national problem.) This means that the power of the Asian gambling market – it is far, far, far larger than the other gambling markets combined – is now being applied on tiny matches in obscure leagues in relatively unimportant countries. It means that for criminals it is worth fixing games that before would not have been worth even listing on their gambling websites. It means that the sport is in serious trouble unless football authorities start to put in measures to protect it from this new form of corruption.

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A final note – after the news of the German Police investigation there was this New York Times interview that may be of interest to people who want to understand the technical details of fixing a football match.

2 Responses to “Dear Friends of Football”

  1. Andrew says:

    While I knew beforehand what is described in the book, I found it a really good read that explains to someone who has no idea about the betting world what’s going on in the World of football. However for some reason the book can’t be found in any Aussie bookstore (and I was surprised as you had been here a little while ago).
    Btw is a Greek translation on the cards? For some reason despite match fixing being the normal in Greece there had been NO arrests made, nor any allegations, maybe they know how to cover their tracks there! :)

  2. Christel says:

    Hi Declan, it’s now some time that I am waiting for your new book. I think, that I will read it in English this time, because there will pass some time since it will come out in German or Italian. I don’t want to wait more than necessary. Best wishes
    Christel

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