Declan Hill, author of the excellent book The Fix, is an authoritative writer on corruption in football (soccer) and writes the blog How to Fix a Soccer Game. Following up on my post from yesterday about corruption involving the building of the Giraffe Stadium in South Africa, Declan makes a number of very important points in this blog post.
Many of the teams participating from poorer nations, those teams that perhaps we all have a soft spot for, are almost certainly the most likely targets for corruption. Honduras is mentioned because most of the players for that team play in the domestic league and are paid, in relative terms, pittance – and nothing much has happened since they managed to qualify for the World Cup. South Africa’s players even, it seems, are the last to be paid, and their pay from their FA is anything but certain.
It is fairly standard common sense/economic theory that if the punishment is low (you aren’t losing much in terms of pay!), you are more likely to undertake criminal activities. Thus you imagine the ridiculously over-paid England stars won’t be the targets for corruption, but the players for many poor African nations (Cameroon’s national team has gone on strike in the past during a World Cup) and other poor nations like Honduras will be much more susceptible targets to the criminal groups descending on South Africa right now.
My apologies if you like to think of football as a nice, pure sport where everything is what it seems and I’ve just spoilt this by linking up Declan’s fine work!
He’s also on twitter if you’re that way inclined and want quick updates during the World Cup…