Soccer is not a game - it's business

While a half of Russia (that is how many people in the country watched  the matches of Euro 2012) wipe their faces after the humiliation of the national team, someone is counting the profits. Arshavin who keeps himself in the middle of scandals, is working for the naïve fans, distracting public attention from the naked truth. Soccer is not a game - it's business.

First, some enlightening information. Italian Football Federation has accused the current champion in the series "Pescara" of organizing fixed matches. Serious sanctions, however, were not introduced. The newcomer to the Italian top division of Series A will only lose two points. Last year, the situation was exactly the same. Atalanta got from Series B into Series A based on an agreement, which cost it 6 points.

This is one of the most recent reports on identified "agreements." It appeared on June 18, but the list of matches recognized as "agreements" is so long that the history of soccer should be rewritten.  

Anyone interested in soccer can see constantly updated series of scandals. In the age of Internet and uncompromising struggle of the UEFA against corruption, there are plenty of established facts of this type in open access. There are incredible examples that are extremely irritating to the true professionals in their field.

Players tell a great deal as well, and not just in private conversations. "I played at a time when everyone gave up consecutive matches. I was personally approached by the captains of other teams and made offers. I will not call them by name: this is not their time. I can only say with bitterness, that we - our generation - have planted distrust in the head of our fans. This is the most offensive and disgusting thing - we're all to blame," said Evgeny Lovchev.

And it was the Soviet times - not rampant capitalism. The mechanism was simple: ministerial teams, telephone arrangements of apparatchiks, underground betting. Now the business is put on a grand scale. Those who do not participate in it just do not play.

The experienced defender of "Loco" and "CSKA" Andrei Solomatin, who played in post-Soviet era, spoke to a reporter from Sport-Express. "The truth is that our soccer is such that even Vadim Evseev avoids it. He once said:" Call me into the prosecutor's office, I'll tell you everything. "But no one cares."

He explained the process: "I am a little familiar with the bookmaking world. A week before the match in Italy a draw ratio was 1.4. I looked at the stock exchange bulletin: there were $10 thousand dollar bets on all games, and $200, 000 on this draw. Should I tell you what was the result of the game? "

Let's talk about betting on the Russian national team in the last match at Euro 2012 against the Greeks. William Hill multiplied the rate for the Greek victory by 5, the rate on the victory of the Russians - 1.75, a draw - 3.50. Bwin agreed with William Hill: the rate for the victory of the Greek national team was 5.00, the victory of Russia - 1.72, a draw - 3.60. Domestic "Marathon" suggested betting on the Greeks with a very good coefficient of 5.70, for the victory of Russia - 1.68, a draw - 3.90. Should I remind you what the results were?

And here is the testimony of a well-known soccer agent, Serb Velibora Dzharovski. "Now in high season I am "working" around 7-10 games in Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Greece, Hungary, Slovenia and Belgium - representatives of these countries turn to me to this day. UEFA is investigating a series of match-fixing cases, including those with my involvement: one at the level of teams, another in European competition, between teams from Greece and Hungary.

If it hadn't been for my health problems, today I would have organized five times more match-fixing than 25 years ago. At the time there were no betting shops in our country, and now they are everywhere. Considering my old contacts, I would have had enormous opportunities," said Dzharovski.

The fight against match-fixing announced by UEFA looks as fixed as the matches. The functionaries-directors have their levers of influence on the final outcome of the match - referees. Therefore, UEFA for many years has been fighting off all attempts to introduce video repeats in soccer, leaving the decision to the discretion of the "charged" referees. Therefore, UEFA is fighting only against the fixed matches it does not control.

An amazing business is developing on this well-fertilized soil - trade of information about fixed matches. There are websites offering such services on the Internet. In most cases it is an interesting format for individual betting business, when part of clients are provided confidential information about the victory of one team for a fee, and another part is sold "one hundred percent" forecast for another. Part of money can be always returned, as long as balance is there.

Sergey Nikolaev.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov