On Sunday we had the story break that 10 players and officials of the Southern Stars, a Victorian Premier League team (Melbourne, Australia) had been arrested over match-fixing allegations. All of the players involved were from Britain, and offered to the club at no cost. Surely that raises some alarm bells? These aren't the likes of Robbie Fowler who has made his millions and now might wish to give back to the football world by playing or coaching across the globe, but a bunch of once-promising players who now can't cut it as senior footballers and now need to earn a living. One wonders if the club administrators who agreed to such a package deal have also purchased plots of outstanding real estate with maritime views (swamp land) or have accepted offers to help Nigerian princes trying to move money out of the country....
Next up we had the World Snooker Association finding Stephen Lee guilty of multiple charges of match- and spot-fixing. This took nobody by surprise and Ronnie O'Sullivan has implied there has been plenty of other occurrences. I loved his tweet which said 'No concrete evidence but it's like being in an office, everyone knows who's shagging who'. Brilliantly put.
And the final headline, at least so far this week, has been the overnight raids and arrest of 14 people in Singapore on allegations of match-fixing and sporting corruption. This mightn't sound that big in the grand scheme of things but one of the names rumoured to have been taken into custody is Dan Tan, the big cheese in world football fixing. Singapore police won't confirm details as yet but they do have the power to hold persons without charge for up to 12 months - it could be a long period of questioning.
Dan Tan has fingers in every pie when it comes to corrupting football. With Wilson Raj Perumal spending time in a Finnish gaol and being under police surveillance in Hungary (yet allegedly arranging the Southern Stars fixes), Tan had taken over as the man in control. Don't for a moment though think that fixing dries up here. Just like a drug cartel, there will be a hefty network of people involved worldwide and several of them will be more than willing to step up and fill the void of Tan. Not only that, as fixing gains more and more publicity as each scandal is exposed, copycats will emerge and start their own fixing franchise. There will be a day where both teams in a match are trying to lose, paid off by rival gangs, just like movies where both boxers fall down at the slightest hint of a punch. In fact, there might have already been a match or two like this. Nevertheless, this is a massive development in the fight against corruption in sport.
I was contacted by Sky Sports News again once the Singapore news broke, and was interviewed this afternoon. I'll post a clip of it later on.
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone on O2