Truly shocking news broke from Turkey earlier this week which claimed that Turkish giants Besiktas and Fenerbahce were to be charged with match fixing. Match fixing has strived in Europe over the last few years and football powers such as UEFA have promised to crack down on any one found guilty of any forms of match fixing no matter how big or small the case may be. They may both face the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body later this month and there is a strong chance that both will be banned from all European competitions this year with other possible punishments.
This is not the first time that Fenerbahce have been accused of match fixing. With Fenerbahce’s chairmen arrested for six years, fined £460,000 and banned from watching matches and club management only last year. If Fenerbahce are proved to be guilty yet again, it will have very severe repercussions on their football club. Besiktas however are a more surprising case with them having no previous proven case of match fixing in recent times. However Besiktas and two club officials are being investigated over match-fixing alleged to have taken place around the 2011 Turkish Cup final.
Match fixing has become a huge issue in football in the last decade and has been thrusted into the public eye with many accusations of match fixing in leagues all over Europe but most notorious for match fixing is the Italian league Serie A. The most famous case of match fixing was the Italian match fixing scandal including Juve, AC Milan and a host of other clubs. The scandal first came to light as a consequence of investigations of prosecutors on the Italian football agency GEA World.
Transcripts of recorded telephone conversations published in Italian newspapers suggested that during the 2004–05 seasons, Juventus general managers Luciano Moggi and Antonio Giraudo had conversations with several officials of Italian football to influence referee appointment. It resulted in the Italian football giants being relegated to Seria B and stripped of two Serie A titles and were kicked out of the 2006-2007 Champions League which they were due to compete in. This hasn’t been the last time that Italian football was involved in match fixing. The 2011 Italian football scandal emerged on 1 June 2011 after a number of football-related figures were arrested, or made under official scrutiny, by Italian police for alleged match fixing. The list included also well-known figures as former Italian international footballer Giuseppe Signori, as well as former Serie A players Mauro Bressan, Stefano Bettarini and Atalanta veteran striker Cristiano Doni. The group was accused of having fixed a wide range of Serie B, Lega Pro Prima Divisione and Lega Pro Seconda Divisione games.
If found guilty of match fixing it will send shockwaves through Turkish football and even European football where Besiktas and Fenerbahce are regular competitors not only that, it will also prove to the general football fan that match fixing is still striving even in the biggest leagues in the world despite all of UEFA’s attempts to fix the issue. This will continue to throw an edge of conspiracy and accusations of match fixing every time a controversial call goes in favor of a big side. But after all the efforts of the FAs, FIFA and UEFA to still not be able to rid the beautiful game from the horrors of match fixing causes some very disturbing thoughts. Firstly are higher powers such as FIFA and the FAs involved?
I myself do not think they are but the longer they fail to rid the game of match fixing the more people believe that higher powers are involved and with these sort of accusations flying around, the beautiful game will truly be in jeopardy. Secondly, isn’t football as we know it already been jeopardized? Has our favorite football moments been ruined by the horrors of match fixing? For all we know, the most defining moments in football such as world cup finals, Champions League finals or Premier League titles. We will never know unless if it did happen, it is uncovered by match fixing officials or the FA and FIFA. Thirdly and the most worrying of all, why can’t we stop match fixing? Those involved in this illegality have shown in the past that the people involved in match fixing have been able to slip under the radar and corrupt even the biggest of matches. Is there any realistic way to stop the corrupt officials and corrupt teams from match fixing their important matches?
I sadly do not think that there is any viable way to stop match fixing completely. We can control the majority of it but we will never be able to fully stop anyone who is willing enough to corrupt officials and we will never be able to stop every official who is willing to be bribed to fix a match.
The beautiful game is truly in a sad state of affairs.
Written By Joshua Beans