Officials in the world of soccer have uncovered an extensive match fixing operation that saw as many as 300 separate games fixed. The operation is thought to have been across three different continents and is thought to involve friendly internationals organized purely to make profits from certain occurrences taking place.
Investigations have uncovered information suggesting that match officials have been “bought” for as little as $10,000 (£6,000) to deliver specific scores enabling fixers in the Asian gambling market to make millions. Most of these bookmakers are based in two countries with fairly strict Muslim cultures, Singapore and Malaysia, with links to Eastern Europe.
More worryingly, London is thought to be one of the key bases for the fixers. FIFA’s head of security Chris Eaton, a former Interpol official, told The Daily Telegraph, “The threat from match-fixing to the integrity of the global game is significant. England is the home of football and London is a global financial centre so it does not surprise me that the financial aspects of this activity lead to London.
“Interviews with those involved have told us that that fixers can spend upwards of $300,000 (£182,000) to stage a friendly international and they do that with the expectation of a significant profit margin. Our information is that we are talking about tens of millions of dollars in profit from each successful fix.”
If there’s something slightly amusing to come out of this it’s that the fixers really don’t seem to be particularly good at it. A well-fixed game you wouldn’t hear about, as it would be that routine. Goals would be scored, players sent off and the criminals would make their money. That would be that.
Some of the games investigated here really do take the biscuit. FIFA opened investigations into two international friendlies in the Turkish resort of Antalya when Bolivia took on Latvia and Estonia faced Bulgaria. All seven goals were penalties and suspicious betting activity was uncovered before each goal. You can’t write it. It meant officials from Hungary and Bosnia all being banned for life.
The investigations are ongoing with the main protagonist Wilson Raj Perumal, a Singapore national, in custody in Finland. It will be interesting to see how harsh a penalty he receives, but a lengthy prison term would send out quite the message.