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Bet football's transparency Bet football's transparency
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-11-22 10:48:15
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When a couple of years ago the big football scandal hit Italy and Juventus fell from the first division to the second, first nobody was surprised and second everybody was waiting who’s next to follow. Even though the rumours had it that the next one is going to hit in Italy there were some who started looking north. Well nothing happened and rumours kept circulating. Then there was something else, even though to fix a game you need one or at least a couple of players to be part of the conspiracy in Juventus case it was only members of the administration with one of them committing suicide when the scandal reached the press which means or at least the theories have it that there was a cover up.

Football is not what it was fifty years ago we like it or not. Football has changed in too many ways and I have written about it too often. Nowadays football is all about money and we have better accept that enjoying the game itself. Nowadays for a team to lead the national division is important not for the glory of the colours but for the money that will come and there are far more money when the team is qualified for the euro-league and there are more money when the team is continuing in the euro-league and far more money when the team takes the euro-cup. And Ronaldo doesn’t give a damn what the Manchester United fans think when Real Madrid gives him more money, actually he never cared!

The rest of us who follow the game, who follow the team we are just consumers to buy more season tickets, jerseys for us and our kids – every year a new one – go to these huge stadiums that look more like a huge mall, spent our money in the restaurants and the boutiques with the team’s logo and that’s it! There is nothing else left. And then there is the bet, the football pools! Once upon a time there were national football pools controlled by the state with part of the money going to support sports in general since money go to football but nothing goes to other sports like classic sports.

That was once upon a time, nowadays football pools are organized by huge international betting companies where you not only bet for the final score, but you can bet for everything you can imagine. Who’s going to score, which minute of the game, what result in the half time and who’s going to be change after 60 minutes. The rest is not conspiracy theory but it lacks prove. How the hell can you bet that in the 55th minute of the game the home team is going to score, is like believing that you are going to beat the casino in the roulette. Then there is another issue. The majority of the people who bet on football pools don’t do it because they love football but because they are passionate with betting, actually most of these people are seriously ill. And the money we are talking about are not a few thousands, are billions and billions every day. And now the betting office have globalize, you can live in Italy and bet for a game in Norway!

During the summer the Greek premier league stops for holidays and despite what you might think the football pools continue with games from …Finland. How much chance a Greek has to have good knowledge of the Finnish football is a mystery but how ill a person is to bet in Finnish football teams, well that’s a reality. So here we have betting companies that handle literally billions investing on human naivety – I could say stupidity here – and thousands of sick people who invest a lot of money to companies that don’t like to lose! That everything is  not angelic made is not conspiracy theory, that something going on with football is not a hypothesis and that players are involved is not just a rumour.

Well the news have it that another scandal has come out involving over two hundred teams from Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Austria involving even champions-league games something that makes the whole thing not just serious but dramatic. Corruption in the highest levels of the European league. What remains to see is if Michel Platini is going to do something, if the investigators will get to the “dangerous” edges of the scandal or if ….money will win again and a couple of administrators will go to prison for a couple of years and three or four team will fall to the next division ready to return a year after just like it happened with Juventus


     
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Emanuel Paparella2009-11-22 15:52:34
The Greek Olympics were partially devised for the suspension of war and a period of peace and cooperation, albeit a competitive one. The competition was for the achievement of excellence in all its physical and mental forms. The prize in money was a mere laurel wreath, and, most importantly, glory and honor from its fellow-citizens. We have come full circle. First sport was made a mere spectacle that one watched but hardly ever practiced. Then it was made a business from which one made money. Corruption soon followed to wit the hundreds of fixed games in the EU, doping and spectators’ unruliness. Winning became everything, not fraternity, not liberty, not equality. Final result: sport is now not a conductor of peace and honor but as a conductor of war and outrage, to wit Algeria and Egypt.

The Romans had a saying: corruptio optima pessima: the corruption of the best is the worst. Indeed, it is a delusion within an illusion to suppose that since everybody likes soccer in Europe and elsewhere, it can function as a centripetal socio-cultural force. The sad reality is that once one’s origins and genuine heritage has been discarded even from one’s Constitution (considered a mere treaty), the center will no longer hold. Confirmation of that tragic conclusion is that sport itself, which people used to think as the realm wherein people could not cheat, has been corrupted. The corruption of the best is really the worst. As Socrates put: it runs faster than death and once she has gotten hold of you she is reluctant to let you go.


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