Friday, February 22, 2013

Match-Fixing in Soccer

Match-fixing has been a part of the sports culture since the early 1900s beginning with the infamous Black Sox Scandal and expanding through the modern era with examples such as of Tim Donaghy and the NBA. So why is match-fixing so popular all of sudden? It’s not necessarily that match-fixing is more popular than before, it is that it has been made more prevalent in the news. In reality, match-fixing has the potential to date back a long time prior to 1919 in Chicago. It is simply that the fixing surrounding the White Sox organization was the first highly publicized sports betting scandal. Currently, soccer is in the middle of unearthing it largest fixing scandal in longstanding history.

Soccer is a global game. In many ways, soccer is more influential than any other sport. soccer has been credited with having the ability to unify warring countries, revive failing economies, inspire cultural pride and generate tourism. Now in the year 2013, the purity of this universal game is at stake. For starters, the credibility and integrity of the sport is being questioned. Similar to steroids in baseball, match-fixing has become synonymous with soccer. It seems as though every other week, new information regarding a circuit of match-tampering rings is published.

The most recent breakthrough in soccer’s ongoing issue came this Thursday as Italian police arrested presumed organizer of match-fixing, Admir Suljic. The Slovenian is said to be one of driving forces behind a series of swindling in top-flight soccer matches. Accused of fraud and qualified sporting fraud committed within criminal association. Suljic is believed to be working alongside match-fixing kingpin, Dan Tran, a Singaporean national. Together, their organization has been responsible for tampering over 680 soccer matches across Europe and Asia.

For the time being, the future of match-fixing in soccer is unknown. Although I don’t believe match-fixing will ever see an end as part of soccer, I do believe the arrest of Admir Suljic is the key to unlocking the convoluted circuit of recent high-profiled match-riggings. FIFA’s Director of Security had this to say regarding match-fixing, “Match-fixing is a real threat not only for one country but to the global community and there’s not one single solution or quick fix to this problem.” Authorities plan to use Suljic’s captive as a catalyst for the arrest of Dan Tran.

Because of the cyber-nature of this crime, much of the match-fixing crackdown relies on the cooperation of affected countries. Soccer organizations such as FIFA and UEFA cannot make progress with investigations unless countries acknowledge the seriousness of match-fixing and direct their respective law enforcement toward the examination of fixing rings. Much of the future of match-fixing remains unclear. What remains clear is that the arrest of Admir Suljic is a significant step forward towards cleaning up the football community.

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