More match-fixing problems in international football (Thanksgiving Edition)

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the U.S. and around the world (though you may not celebrate it, or celebrate it on another day).  As I was up early this morning watching things cook in the oven, I spent my time reading about the newest betting problems emerging in Europe.

It seems, the big fear in Europe has been whether things in domestic football leagues in Europe would become as bad as things in Asia, where the Chinese top flight professional soccer league is currently under investigation by police for match fixing involving a blow out win of a single match, which seems to be reaching through all levels of the league, and may end in the league being shut down by the police/government.  The growing popularity of football (soccer) in Asia, coupled with the large number of individuals who bet on games in Asia, has seem to have now had a backwards effect on European football.

Earlier this year in Newcastle, England, two Chinese students were found murdered, having evidence of being tortured.  The two students who were getting master’s degrees have been recently linked with a large Chinese international betting company which ran betting on the Premier League.  It looks like these two murders were ordered by a Chinese criminal syndicate which ordered the killings in revenge for something, but what “it” is, is somewhat unsure.  The article discusses further how gambling is illegal in China, yet it is believed that around 40 billion pounds of bets were placed last year on the Premier League in China alone.  With this in mind, the Chinese triads and criminal syndicates have been looking more and more to place agents in England in closer contact with the Premier League in order to run the betting operation.

In Germany and Switzerland, several individual were arrested and are being questioned in a match-fixing scandal.  Two players have been questioned in connection with this latest incident, and one of the players has already been suspended by his club, despite no word of what his role may have been in any of this.  While the players involved are members of a fourth-tier German professional football team, the police in Germany and Switzerland are saying that this match-fixing probe involves over 200 matches in Europe, including games played in the Champions League, the highest level club tournament in the region.  UEFA is calling it the biggest match-fixing scandal they have ever had, and it seems an international gang of over 200 people may be involved.  It is said that the bribery may be occurring in Europe, the betting in China, and the group cashing in the money in Berlin.  UEFA is already reacting by investigating various referees on the continent.  With the previous scandals which have rocked Italian football, and now this mega-scandal brewing, it seems that there may be many clubs, players, officials, managers, referees, and so on in European football who are in big trouble.  It is even reported that UEFA is aware of, and investigating the fact that many club official had been illegally placing bets on their own club, which is against UEFA rules.  I expect a quick, severe, and harsh backlash when all of this happens.

Yet one thing which seems to stand out in all of this is a connection China, and growing betting markets around the world.  I’m sure David Stern and other North American league commissioner’s will be paying attention to this.  And this will probably be yet another excuse for none of the major North American sports leagues placing franchises in Las Vegas.

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