Sunday, November 02, 2014


The Match Fixing Curse

The Asian Football Confederation says it has a zero policy towards match fixing. It is apparently examining allegations from the recent Asian Games that were held in 2014 and responded to a Vietnamese club that were expelled from their domestic tournament by allowing them to carry on in the AFC Cup.

Has the AFC taken a position on the recent non-game between PSS and PSIS; you know the one, ended with five own goals? Have they seen the video? Or are they content to allow the PSSI to take their own action? (By the way, the two clubs are calling on people to pray for them as they seek to get their disqualification overturned. In their eyes they have done no wrong).

What about a concern the clubs allegedly had? The concern where the champions had already been decided elsewhere and any team that faced them in the semi final would only lose to the 'anointed' one anyway so why carry on?

No matter what happens there will always be allegations of match fixing in South East Asian football. That comes with the turf. Be they big international syndicates flashing cash or local shady figures intimidating match officials many involved in the game have their own stories but until people go public with their experiences there is little chance of anything concrete being done.

It's a bit like corruption. 'Where's the proof' cry the accused. And they have a point. Bungs don't usually come with a receipt. They do buy expensive goods though. The fruits of corruption are plain to the naked eye and surely they too can sometimes to be visible in football be it the final score or the number of 'strange' bookings. Or five own goals in a short period of time. Or 14 minutes of injury time or until the home team levelled the scores.

The thing with match fixing is the team on the receiving end will be quick to cry foul and fair enough. But they remain quiet when they are the beneficiaries. When that happens, everyone goes all Wenger-esque and sees nothing. And the problem continues.

I was watching one game earlier this season and at half time I received a tweet from someone telling me what the final score would be based on tracking on line betting websites! Coincidence? Maybe.

I wasn't really a big fan of Sham 69 but I loved Questions and Answers; the lyrics struck a chord. Even now I use it as a lullaby to help MyLittleGooner get to sleep! I have become even more cynical than when I was a young punk since living in these parts and part of me is even looking at the AFC Champions League, which Western Sydney Wanderers won, with a raised eyebrow. Why? Think AFC Asian Cup being  held in Australia next year.

Back in the 1970s I grew up convinced Liverpool, as the biggest club in the country, got more than their fair share of dodgy decisions. Recently, when Muang Thong United were docked nine points (nine!!) for their fans' role in crowd disturbances my eyebrows went into overtime.

Maybe I have become too Machiavellian but whenever something odd happens my gut reaction is who benefits?

There will be inquiries perhaps but I have little faith in them either. A body to be investigated sets up another body to investigate for the boys. Or in the case of corruption at FIFA just squash the findings.

Still, there is no proof and perhaps everything is just nice and dandy and that FIFA Fair Play banner is taken seriously by all involved and there is chocolate on the moon sold by elves and pixies.

The questions remain but the answers remain elusive.

One thing does remain clear though. Many Asian football fans prefer European football to their own game and one of the reasons, beyond perceived status, is the domestic is dirty and tainted. In other words them what is involved in match fixing, if anyone is, are stunting the game in their own country for their own petty gains.

You only have to look at Australia's A League and India's new Indian Super League to see there is a market for a well run domestic league that caters to local fans. People want to support their local team in the same way they support their local pub or their local corner shop. The crudity of match fixing deprives them of that and they look elsewhere to the detriment of their 'own'.

Just so you know regarding the PSS-PSIS parody match there was nowhere available to place a bet so ok it was "fixed" in a way but it didn't concern betting reasons at all. However 99% of the matches are fixed for betting profits, and investigations in Indonesia are in progress only for the Persiba - Persiba match (the last one of the season that ended 3-2 in favor of the Bantul one), but they were many more besides that based both on odds movement (during in play and also pregame) and to the behaviors of the team when watching the matches (Persiba Bantul was involved again in several cases).
thank you for your comments...I must say gambling on football is not my thing. I can just about handle half time, full time results!
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