It seems the match-fixing scandal, that has rocked the world of football, has infiltrated every strata. Coming in the wake that Europol was investigating a staggering 380-matches that involved games in the Champions League, European Championships and World Cup, the UK Football Association (FA) has taken the step of writing to all 22 Blue Square Bet South clubs after serious concerns over suspicious betting patterns in the division.
In the recent Champions League match between Manchester United and Real Madrid, the outcome of the game hinged on a terrible decision by the Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir, when in the 56th minute he showed the red card to the Manchester United star Nani after a seemingly innocuous challenge against the Madrid fullback Alvaro Arbeloa. Real Madrid were 1-0 down at the time and came back to win the match 1-2. How many people watching that match now question the validity of the decision, after the trials and tribulations that have scarred the most popular sport in the world?
When you step in shit, it tends to stick.
Compliance officers from the FA, and officials from the Gambling Commission’s Sports Betting Intelligence Unit, have written to all 22-clubs that play in the division to remind them of their duty to abide by the rules whilst raising awareness of the suspicious betting patterns. It is believed that at least two bookmakers refused to take bets on this weekend’s matches that involved Chelmsford and Billericay. Chelmsford drew 2-2 away to Bath City and Billericay lost 1-2 at home to Welling.
“The only contact we have had was a letter last week, and from a conference meeting in Telford in February. It is obviously a concern that these allegations are being made in a division we compete in but we have never come across anything like this. The letter we received from the FA was basically to remind clubs of the rules and to show the correct way forward.” Eastbourne Borough CEO Mike Spooner told the Eastbourne Herald.
Unfortunately, it seems this won’t be the last story to emerge from a disease that has seemingly invaded our beautiful game.