Police Call Match-Fixing Widespread in Soccer

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“Soccer is known throughout much of the world as the beautiful game. But the sport’s ugliest side — the scourge of match-fixing — will not soon go away. With the 2014 World Cup in Brazil drawing closer, a European police intelligence agency said Monday that its 19-month investigation, code-named Operation Veto, revealed widespread occurrences of match-fixing in recent years, with 680 games globally deemed suspicious. The extent was staggering: some 150 international matches, mostly in Africa, Asia and Latin America; roughly 380 games in Europe, covering World Cup and European championship qualifiers as well as two Champions League games; and games that run the gamut from lower-division semiprofessional matches to contests in top domestic leagues.” NYT

European police say match-fixing probe uncovers more than 680 suspicious soccer games
“A major investigation involving Europol and police teams from 13 European countries has uncovered an extensive criminal network involved in widespread football match-fixing. A total of 425 match officials, club officials, players, and serious criminals, from more than 15 countries, are suspected of being involved in attempts to fix more than 380 professional football matches. The activities formed part of a sophisticated organised crime operation, which generated over €8 million in betting profits and involved over €2 million in corrupt payments to those involved in the matches.” europol

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‘Match-fixing is reality’ says Burkina Faso coach banned in Belgium

“For Paul Put, the Belgian coach of Burkina Faso, the statement from Europol that it had found evidence that as many as 380 matches in Europe had been fixed came as no great surprise. He is one of the very few coaches to have been banned for fixing games, serving a three-year ban in Belgium that expired in 2011 after being found guilty of fixing two matches while manager of Lierse.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Adebayor to play on with Togo
“Emmanuel Adebayor has said he has no plans to retire from international football despite Togo’s recent African Nations Cup exit. Togo were eliminated at the quarter-final stage after losing 1-0 to Burkina Faso on Sunday. But Adebayor, who has had a troubled relationship with the Hawks because of his differences with the nation’s football authorities, said he still had plenty to achieve with the country of his birth.” ESPN

Didier Drogba and Ivory Coast’s golden generation fail again

“Unbolt the doors, roll up the window blinds: the lock-in in last chance saloon is over. Didier Drogba was as statesmanlike as he always is in an orange shirt, walking round his team-mates picking them from the floor and raising spirits but he must fear that this is the end. He said afterwards that if he is wanted he will stay and spoke of shifting the focus to World Cup qualification but the Ivory Coast captain is 34 now; will he really be around in Morocco in 2015 for yet another last shot at the Africa Cup of Nations?” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

All Italian eyes rest on Balotelli

“Do spare a thought for Giampaolo Pazzini. After scoring twice in a 2-1 win against Bologna on January 20, 2013, the Milan striker was promised by chief executive Adriano Galliani that there were no plans to bring in a rival in the transfer window. One can only imagine then his reaction to La Gazzetta dello Sport’s front page last Wednesday, which declared that ‘Balo is back,’ the Photoshopped red of his ‘crest’ haircut signifying he’d joined Milan from Manchester City.” Eurosport

A Moth for Mali

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“The Western-most tip of Africa seemed like as good a place as any to watch the Mali vs. South Africa quarter-final in the African Cup of Nations. On Saturday, I was at the Pointe des Almadies in Dakar, a tourist stop and hang-out with a beach carpeted with black stones and hand-holding couples. On offer there were grilled fish, birds, paintings made of butterfly wings, ham and cheese crepes and beer, Bob Marley renditions — and a tiny television tuned to the match. We stood packed behind a bar watching. Everyone, as usual, was both coach and expert tactician.” Soccer Politics

Bundesliga Rewind – West Germany vs. France – 1982 World Cup

“The German national team kicks off their calendar year with a friendly against France this Wednesday. To get you in the mood we’ll wind back the years and take a look at a match widely considered to be one of the greatest in World Cup history and certainly one that still sticks in the memories of many France and Germany fans, their epic encounter in the 1982 semi-finals in Spain.” Bundesliga Fanatic

Interview with Marco Garcés, Head of Scouting for Pachuca CF

“In the past few years, many Mexican clubs have taken an interest in American players. Several clubs have placed particular emphasis on youth players, scouting extensively in the United States for the next Jose Torres, Joe Corona, or Edgar Castillo. No club has put more resources into recruiting young Mexican-American players north of the border than Pachuca. In September, I sat down with Marco Garcés, head of scouting for Pachuca to discuss the phenomenon of Mexican-American players heading south in ever greater numbers (a larger article on this topic will appear in issue three). Garcés was in San Diego for a tryout, which brought players from throughout the area who hoped to get noticed by Pachuca.” XI Quarterly

Soccer in the World’s Most Violent City: Why Are You Here?

“Those words came out of the mouth of some man—southern, reasonably-tall, and apparently the mayor of San Pedro Sula, based on some of the I’m-sort-of-a-regular way he tried to talk about the place—on our shuttle from the airport to the hotel. It doesn’t really matter that the driver’s name was Melvin—he got three letters right, at least—or that, after a back and forth, they decided that the coup happened no later than 2008. The coup happened in 2009, as Noah Davis, esteemed person-who-has-been-to-Honduras-once, told me from the back of the shuttle. And what matters here is just that the coup happened. It happened less than four years ago, and now I’m here, rolling through the streets in a van, navigated by a man not named Javier, who has no problem cutting through gas stations instead of waiting for a red light to turn.” Outside