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Scandal Rocks Soccer World

February 11, 2013
Plain English Version

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Now, there is a report charging widespread fixing of games. It is the result of 18 months of investigation covering the years from 2008 to 2011.

The report comes from Europol, an international police agency. Observers say the contents are “staggering.” It does not name specific players or teams.

It claims there were 680 “suspicious games” including international matches in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. The matches include qualifying games for the World Cup, European Championship and lower-level leagues.

One of the games involving the Champion League took place in England. The English teams that may be involved include Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham.

The report charges that players and game officials were bribed by gamblers to control the outcome of fixed games. The investigation uncovered nearly $11 million in profits and nearly $3 million in bribes. An investigator said it was “match-fixing activity on a scale we have not seen before.”

The center of the gambling ring is said to be in Singapore.

There have been suspensions and bans of players by the sport’s governing agency (FIFA) over the past year.

A journalist said there were no reports of fixed games in Major League Soccer (MLS) However, there were incidents in the Concacaf Champions League, a tournament in which MLS teams play.

“This is a sad day for European football,” a Europol investigator said.

The New York Times

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