Stink of corruption in football


Liverpool FC Champions League victory over Debrecen alleged to be fixed
Liverpool FC Champions League victory over Debrecen alleged to be fixed

The recent revelations surrounding a massive campaign of match fixing involving more than 400 players, match officials and senior club staff should come as no surprise. This scandal is the latest dreadful example of how corruption and greed is destroying the beautiful game for millions of loyal fans. In total, 680 matches in 30 countries were identified by Europol as potentially suspicious, including games in the Champions League and international tournaments, with bribes of up to $135,000 paid to players and officials. That these figures can be paid out for fixing a single game is understandable given an estimated $2 billion a week is gambled on football in Asia alone. 

FIFA, football’s world governing body, has attempted to downplay this plague, stating only a “small percentage” of matches are affected. This reflects a general unwillingness to seriously tackle the issue at the upper echelons of the game. In the 2011 match-fixing scandal in Italy, for example, the clubs charged faced only minimal point deductions and insignificant fines. While FIFA likes to portray itself as an internationalist organisation developing fair play, every football fan knows the organisation is itself deeply corrupt. Last year a BBC Panorama documentary exposed how ISL, the world’s largest marketing company, paid $10 million worth of bribes to FIFA officials over a period of a decade. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

Corruption is endemic to capitalism and the current situation in football reflects the rotten corrupt system we live under. The cash that flooded into the game in the 1990’s following the rise of satellite television and the flotation of Europe’s biggest clubs on the stock market transformed football into a billionaire’s playground. Since then scores of top clubs across Europe have been bought up by individuals who gained their wealth in highly suspect circumstances. Reckless financial mismanagement has seen the rapid decline of title-contending clubs such as Glasgow Rangers and Leeds, while Manchester United, Liverpool and others have been burdened with massive long-term debts as a result of speculative takeovers.
Football has increasingly become a means of making vast profits rather than a sport. Clubs occupy a special place in the hearts of many millions worldwide and fans should not put up with this situation.

Ultimately the only way to transform this situation is to fight for clubs to be taken out of the control of big business. Clubs should be owned, controlled and democratically run by supporters as non-profit making institutions. Fans should not simply watch and comment from the sidelines. They should have a real voice in the day-to-day running of their clubs, including the election of the club’s board. Likewise, at football’s summit FIFA needs to be replaced with a democratic organisation controlled and run in the interests of supporters, not big business. The enormous amount of money in football should be used for the benefit of everyone who plays and enjoys watching the sport, including providing affordable ticket prices and television coverage, and money to improve the quality of facilities at every level.

Previous Article

Assembly austerity causing more poverty

Next Article

Protest against cuts to EMA

Related Posts
Read More

Review: Blue Lights

What differentiates this show from other police dramas is its attempts to navigate the political dynamics of Northern Ireland. It avoids the case-of-the-week format of other cop shows in favour of a longer story centring around a paramilitary drug-gang led by the fictional McIntyre family.

What’s behind KONY 2012?

Before 5 March, very few people were aware of the history of conflict in Uganda or had ever heard mention of Joseph Kony. Now, the viral You Tube video “KONY2012” has been viewed 86 million times!

Review: The Hunger Games

The ‘dog eat dog’ mentality of the ’Hunger Games’ parodies today’s world
The depiction of a deranged dystopian realm is not an un familiar one to cinema goers. Last year there was the chilling Never Let Me Go with Kiera Knightly and Carey Mulligan, and the re-discovery of V for Vendetta (2006) by the “Indignados” and “Occupy” protesters. The Hunger Games, a film adaption of the first novel of a bestselling teenage trilogy by Suzanne Collins, in that sense is not groundbreaking or exceptional. However, with the captivating appeal of its feisty heroine, Katniss Everdeen, played with subtlety and intelligence by Jennifer Lawrence, and its portrayal of themes such as extreme inequality, lack of democracy, dictatorship, the depravity of the tabloid media and reality television that echo many of the themes of the ‘Occupy’ movement, mean that ‘Hunger Games’ packs quite a punch.