Reviews

Since the launch of the book on September 1st 2008, there has been an immense amount of controversy. Here is a selection of both positive and negative reactions.

Praise for Declan Hill and 'The Fix':

"Excellent book! Top research, clean prose, beautifully paced."

--Simon Kuper, Financial Times.

"A book I cannot recommend highly enough."

--Lawrence Donegan, The Guardian.

“Declan Hill writes a well-researched book, of investigative journalistic brilliance. A book that deals with the unseen and often shadowy world of football's match fixing. A world that exists right under the eyes and ears of its players, on the pitches of the hard working, dream-living professionals, going unnoticed by the endearing fans. A world the authorities try to ignore, the effects of its existence swept under the carpet in the name of preserving the game's image.

--Shaka Hislop, former goalkeeper in the English Premier League, the Trinidad and Tobago 2006 World Cup team and a US ESPN commentator.

"THE FIX is astonishing, appalling and--given that football is the world's game--nothing less than earth-shaking. A magnificent example of investigative reporting at its best and--to the reader's delight--written with elegance and verve. Declan Hill has announced himself on the world stage with nothing less than a total triumph. No one who reads this will ever watch a match the same way."

--Joe McGinniss, author of Selling the Presidency and The Miracle of Castel di Sangro

"This book should published and read by every football lover in these islands and throughout the rest of Europe. It shows just how the game we love can all too easily be corrupted. I was stunned at the depth and depravity of corruption in football after I read it. It's brilliantly researched and a real page-turner to read. Not at all the impenetrable academic tome I was expecting!

It should be a wake-up call for those in authority in football, and a call to arms for all of us who love the 'the beautiful game'.

--Steven Powell, Director of Policy & Campaigns, Football Supporters' Federation (England & Wales).

An excellent book on a subject that can threaten the soul of the beautiful game. The key point is that this book is not founded on rumour and gossip but on solid reliable and ethical research.

The author has discovered and interviewed the real people in this area of match-fixing, the brains, the runners and of course the fixers themselves. It is a huge problem in Asia and is getting bigger. In fact it is a huge football problem as the book reveals that is not centred on Asia but is spreading its web all over the world wherever people are betting legally and illegally.

The most fascinating aspect of the book for me as a professional coach is the revealing of methods that players use to “fix a game. Every coach should read and learn from this chapter. It will make you very worried and perhaps very cynical of the game.

I hope this book is a step in the right direction to cleaning up the game.

--Steve Darby, Football coach and ESPN commentator.

“I don't even like football and I was gripped by this excellent book! Declan Hill writes with integrity and style. His findings are explosive, and will certainly change the public view of football and sport more widely. This book is investigative journalism at its best.

--Dr. Lucie Cluver, University of Oxford.

Football often ignites a crazy passion among its worldwide base of fans that few other sports engender. In fact, football is a religion. However, Declan Hill, in his remarkable book “The Fix, has exposed with unsparing detail how and why this religion no longer has a God. Football has become so corrupted by mobsters and their ilk as they succeed in fixing the outcome of matches for profit across the globe – including at the World Cup itself – that the sport’s image may very well be permanently tarnished. From Asia to Africa to Russia and all corners of Europe, Hill exposes how the fixing of matches occurs, how epidemic it has become, and how little is being done about it.

As an investigative tour de force, as well as a journalist’s personal journal of his travels while researching the dark recesses of organized crime’s grip on football, “The Fix weaves a compelling story of players, gangsters and sports executives conspiring to ruin a game so beloved the world over. Clearly, Hill is breaking new ground as a reporter, piecing together a tapestry that has only so far been told in fragments.

--Bruce Livesey, Canadian television producer and investigative journalist

Half jokingly, I have sometimes said that sports corruption is growing so fast that a moment would come when sports leaders would look at each other with nostalgia, saying: “Do you remember when it was doping that threatened our credibility - Oh yes, those were the days!

With Declan Hill’s book “The Fix, that moment has arrived.

Whereas doping practices still leave room for some sporting uncertainty and suspense – especially in the cases when competing athletes are equally doped – fixing the outcome of a sporting event means the immediate death of sport, both as an entertainment industry and as an educational tool.

Any national and international sports leader who cares for sport’s survival, and there are indications that some do, must immediately rush to the book stores and get “The Fix.

At great personal risk and with an impressive professional resolution, Declan Hill has produced one of the most important sports books of the century. “The Fix gives compelling evidence that the credibility of professional soccer lies on a fragile foundation, and it provides enough hints to suspect that all sports above amateur level should look nervously over the shoulder.

Not only the usual local scumbags, but international mafia operators with Asian roots are expanding their control over players, referees, officials and bookmakers rapidly, using the most advanced technical and psychological methods. Though a few betting companies, sports officials and police bodies try to put up resistance, they are so far much too inefficient to win this global game. The author leads us by the hand to shabby bars, five-star hotels and chilling slum districts all over the world and introduces us to a great number of crooks that make fortunes by undermining sport. Along the way he shares all his personal doubts, fears and frailties with us, portraying not only him, but also the perpetrators as utterly human.

By letting us follow his tireless research first-hand, Declan Hill not only provides solid journalistic documentation but also a thrilling narrative in an elegant prose that can leave no sports fan cold.

There are sensational news stories in the book, like the revelation of match fixing at the Olympic and World Cup soccer tournaments. However, “The Fix renders much more than a quick fix to readers addicted to sensational news. It digs deeps into the history of match fixing and describes the motives and methods of cheating comprehensively and rivetingly.

“The Fix is a ground-breaking piece of investigative journalism of a kind almost never seen in sport. It contains the necessary mix of love for its subject and ice-cold analysis to function as an effective remedy against an illness that threatens to eradicate sport as we know it. Take “The Fix in one big slurp or take it in small doses, but take it for sport’s sake.

--Jens Sejer Andersen, Director of Play the Game, a world conference and website that serves as a unique forum for sports debate amongst internationally leading media professionals, academics and sports practitioners.

"Der Sport ist sehr gefährdet", by CHRISTIAN HELLMANN, Rheinische Post (German)

"DFB kontaktiert Staatsanwaltschaft", Focus.de (German)

"Verdacht auf Wettskandal bei der WM 2006", Süddeutsche Zeitung (German)

"Ex-Profi bestätigt Bestechungsversuch", Süddeutsche Zeitung (German)

"Kundschafter im Mafia-Milieu", by HARRY NUTT, Frankfurter Rundschau (German)

"Kunsten at fikse en fodboldkamp", by Søren Bang, Idrættens Analyseinstitut (Danish)

"Declan Hill: Det aftalte spil. Fodbold og forbrydelse", by Bjarne Nielsen, Arbejderen (Danish)

"Er det bare aftalt spil?", Urban (Danish)

Interview on When Saturday Comes message board

Greatest Hockey Legends reviews "The Fix"

Bill Ault of Canadakicks.com reviews "The Fix"

Negative Reactions:

"FA Denies Match-Fixing Reports", Ghana Football Association

"Damba threatens legal action", Kickoff Ghana

"Damba to drag Hill all the way", Ghana News Agency

"Appiah rejects betting claims", Ghana Football Association

"Blatter dismisses author's claims", Football365

"Blatter no investigará si hubo cotejos arreglados en el 2006", El Comercio (Spanish)

"Fußballwetten: Hill relativiert Betrugsverdacht", Die Welt (German)

"Bestechungsvorwürfe relativiert", Die Zeit (German)

"Hill rudert zurück", Kicker (German)

"Hill will Filme und Tonbänder vorlegen", by Christoph Ruf, Der Spiegel (German)

"Declan Hill rudert zurück", Stuttgarter Zeitung (German)

"Für 30 000 Dollar verrät doch niemand sein Land", by Lars Wallrodt, Die Welt (German)

"Not enough here to prove soccer corruption", Winnipeg Free Press

How to Fix a Football Match