On Monday the Europol announced a probe on massive match-fixing scandal involving organized crime gangs that have tried or were successful in match-fixing the results of 680 soccer matches. One of the crime gangs involved in this scandal is based in Singapore.
In an extensive 18 month review, the European Union’s police agency said that the matches under review took place in Europe, Asia, Southern and Central America. Specifically about 380 took place in Europe while the other matches were outside the continent. Some of the suspicious matches have been reportedly linked to the Champions League and World Cup Qualifying.
“This is a sad day for European football,” Europol director Rob Wainwright told reporters. He said criminals were cashing in on soccer corruption “on a scale and in a way that threatens the very fabric of the game.”
While specifics of specific players, coaches, and others involved in the scandal were not announced, it is unsure if all of the news in the report is new news or if some is old news. According to Europol since 2008, 50 of the 425 people from 15 countries linked to match-fixing have been arrested.
Ultimately, it is a sad day for soccer. Soccer is the most popular sport globally, but through scandals like this one, it is becoming the most corrupt sport as well. Individual countries and soccer leagues need to start cracking down on this, so that the soccer image and its integrity isn’t tarnished even worse.
It’s already bad enough that soccer around the world struggles with racism and match-fixing, but the time is now to fix it or the sport could become even more corrupt. It can’t get much more corrupt, but it can get better with countries and leagues around the world doing their part to clean up the sport that millions if not billions of people love and cherish.
The days of rigging games should be over and the result of them shouldn’t be based off of who paid who, but based on the skill of the 22 players on the field.