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So I’ve been reading about this match-fixing scandal in international soccer. Can’t say I’m that surprised.
FIFA (one of the ‘F’s stands for football… I have no idea what the other letters mean) has been investigated for fixing the outcomes, at least as far as bettors are concerned, of as many as 700 matches in recent years. FIFA officials, referees and players appear to have been involved.
Soccer fans, have you ever watched a match and said to yourself, or the rest of the people in the stadium “I can’t believe they called that!”? Since I know the answer is yes, you may have seen an example of match-fixing.
The soccer officials I know work hard to improve and their goal is to get every call right. They’re humans, of course, and not every call is going to be right.
But I have to be honest with you, I don’t see a ton of difference between your regular prep referee and your regular FIFA referee. I assume (I admit I don’t know) that FIFA refs have to undergo extensive training and study, but the quality of the calls isn’t a ton better in the professional ranks than I’ve seen anywhere else.
America, in a rare moment of giving two hoots about soccer, celebrated the victory of the U.S. women’s soccer team at the Olympics last year.
Sorry, all you flag-waving soccer types, I watched America’s match against Canada, and Canada got jobbed in every way possible. The U.S. was served on a silver platter the goals that won the game by the officials, including a call against the Canadian goalkeeper that she was holding the ball too long in the penalty box, a call I have never seen before.
That was, no doubt, the worst officiating I have ever seen in a sports contest ever.
Therefore, it doesn’t seem that difficult for bookmakers to squeeze their way into the soccer refereeing ranks. If soccer referees are going to make highly-suspect calls left and right anyway, they might as well be on the take if a bookmaker is waving cash in front of them.
I’m in no way excusing the players, executives or anyone else that hopped aboard the dirty money bandwagon. They should be fined double the money they made on involvement with fixing and banned from FIFA forever.
But FIFA, according to what I’ve read, doesn’t seem horribly interested in investigating past transgressions. Like Mark McGwire and his PED use, FIFA just wants to clean up the game now.
And that has worked wonders for baseball. Right?