The NBA has a nice slogan which can be used to underline the industry of Sports – Where rigged games happen! –
As if luck , bad refereeing calls, poor form , injuries aren’t enough factors that give any sports fan headaches, the most dangerous factor that affects the predictions of every regular gambler- professional or amateur- are the fixed games.
Analyzing the last decades there were a bunch of scandals that involved bribing players and referees to gain financial advantages.
If we look back at the ’90s , the match fixing scandal involving Marseille’s president Bernard Tapie resulted in OM’s relegation to the second division where they spent two years until returning to top flight football. In addition to that they were banned to play in the Champions League during the 1993-94 season and were stripped of a domestic league title they won in 1992.
More recently the Calciopoli affair that struck Italy in 2006 was even more damaging for football’s global reputation. It involved several referees and 5 top italian teams like : Milan, Lazio , Fiorentina, Reggina and obviously Juventus.
Only Juventus was relegated and stripped of two italian league titles, the other four teams were fined and deducted points. Interesting fact just months after this affair was uncovered, was that the Italian national team went on to win the World Cup in 2006 held in Germany.
That same year , the organisers of the World Cup were hit by a match manipulation scandal aswell. It had german referee Robert Hoyzer as a centre piece , who after destroying a Cup game between Hamburg and underdogs Paderborn , which surprisingly at that moment was won by the outsiders, admitted to have links with the Croatian betting mafia. This wasn’t an individual case, because in order to secure payoffs from high stake gamblers , Hoyzer caved in and admitted to have manipulated at least six other matches.
Obviously football’s leading body -FIFA- through its eternal president Sepp Blatter is trying to prevent this affairs from ever happening again. And surely allowing huge betting companies to sponsor top european teams like Milan and Real Madrid just to name a few, is a step in the right direction!
Maybe this way Milan’s recent win in the Champions League away to Real Madrid can be explained. A few things to add to their unexpected victory…..first of all Milan’s domestic form was awful , they couldn’t even get passed teams like Bari in the Italian League and more important two of Milan’s three goals came after huge errors by the world’s best keeper-Iker Casillas of Sbobet that has different types of services apart from the games of casino or the redirecting features to other online gambling sites. Two weeks later this teams met again and drew on Milan’s home pitch. The draw was just enough to keep both sides in the top two positions of the group, that allow them qualification to the next stages of the competition. Coincidental or not….the third placed team in that group is Tapie’s former team, Marseille.
The integrity of the people around and inside sports force me to state that, coincidences are just the Devil’s way of remaining anonymous.