Daily Archives: February 8, 2013

Soccer’s New Match-Fixing Scandal

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“I am a midlevel Hungarian gangster. You are a Finnish referee. So here’s how it works. I get a call from a lieutenant in the syndicate — not from Dan Tan himself, the boss has to be protected, but from a middle man somewhere in Asia. Maybe Singapore, where Dan Tan is based; maybe someplace else. The caller says: We need so-and-so to happen in such-and-such soccer game. So I fly to Helsinki from Budapest and take a train north to Tampere, where you’ll be officiating a match in the Ykkönen, the Finnish second division, between FC Ilves and FC Viikingit. We meet. It’s not as if I’m lugging a duffel full of cash. The money will be laundered; we have the systems in place. I want you to be comfortable, after all.” Grantland – Brian Phillips

Surprised by the match-fixing scandal? You shouldn’t be
“In The Hague on Monday when the director of Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, announced the preliminary findings of an investigation into the rigging of soccer matches, many observers were shocked. Nearly 700 fixed games. Several on UK soil. A transnational criminal conspiracy with an Asian syndicate pulling the strings. How could such a thing be happening? I knew how easily it was done.” ESPN

W – 2011 South Korean football betting scandal

W – 2006 Italian football scandal

W – 2011–12 Italian football scandal

W – 2005 Bundesliga scandal

W – Brazilian football match-fixing scandal

Does Liverpool FC Need a Leader?

“One of the big question marks around FSG’s ownership of Liverpool to date has been leadership – or lack of. There has been a reliance on a structure that has lacked experience of top level football at all levels. So does Liverpool need an experienced leader at the helm? Or are Ian Ayre and Brendan Rodgers capable of stepping up into the two most critical roles at the football club? The lack of experience at the club has been exposed a number of times during FSG’s tenure with avoidable situations such as the Suarez affair and the Duncan Jenkins mess. Both of these incidents could have potentially been avoided with a strong CEO in situ.” Tomkins Times

Schalke in crisis

“Three months is a long time in football. Back in October when Schalke 04 won at arch rivals Borussia Dortmund in the Ruhr Valley Derby, life looked rosy for the Royal Blues. They were third in the Bundesliga, seven points behind leaders Bayern Munich and just two behind surprise package Eintracht Frankfurt. Now they`re in freefall, a huge 22 points behind runaway leaders Bayern and ten behind champions Dortmund.” Bundesliga on Eurosport2

‘An absolute legend’: Former Liverpool players pays tribute to Jamie Carragher

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“Jamie Carragher will leave a huge hole at Liverpool when he retires at the end of the season, according to former team-mate Jason McAteer. Carragher, 35, today announced he will quit football following his 17th Premier League campaign after spending his entire career at the Merseyside club. The former England international, who earned 38 caps for his country, is second only to Ian Callaghan in the club’s all-time appearance table with more than 700 Liverpool games under his belt.” Independent

Liverpool will miss Jamie Carragher, a rare breed who defied doubters
“The farewell is typical of Jamie Carragher in so many ways. His obligation to deliver for Liverpool shapes the announcement that an illustrious playing career will cease this summer, and the timing of it. There is no fanfare and no reflections on 16 years that brought two FA Cups, three League Cups, one Uefa Cup and, of course, one unforgettable Champions League triumph.” Guardian

Jamie Carragher and the ultimate one-club footballers
“Jamie Carragher has announced he will retire at the end of the season, bringing an end to a career spent entirely at Liverpool. One club men are a rare breed in modern football, but here we pay homage to the players who topped 500 games – and never played for another club.” Independent

Ayre lauds ‘colossal’ Carragher
“Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has hailed Jamie Carragher as ‘selfless” and “a colossal figure’ after the defender announced his plan to retire at the end of the season. Carragher, 35, is leaving Anfield after more than a quarter of a century with the club he joined as a nine-year-old – and Ayre has refused to rule out finding another role at the club for the centre-back. The defender, who made his debut in January 1997, has played 723 times for Liverpool, placing him second only to Ian Callaghan on the club’s all-time appearance list.” ESPN

Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals: giants set sights on a return to power

“As the dust settles after the quarter-finals, the landscape looks strangely unfamiliar. The favourites, Ivory Coast, have gone; the hosts, South Africa, have gone; and Egypt, who dominated the tournament in the last half of the first decade of this century, didn’t even qualify. So the Africa Cup of Nations will go either to one of the traditional powers of African football, Ghana or Nigeria, both of whom nurse the pain of years without a title, or to a first time-winner, Mali or Burkina Faso.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Nigeria 4-1 Mali: a battle of attacking left-backs

“Nigeria qualified for the final by controlling the game in midfield and attacking with more speed. Stephen Keshi named an unchanged side from the XI that triumphed over the Ivory Coast at the quarter-final stage. Mali coach Patrice Carteron left out Samba Sow and Samba Diakite, with Mahamane Traore coming into the side on the left, and Mohamed Traore in the centre. Mahamdou N’Diaye returned in place of Adama Coulibaly. Nigeria dominated this match and fully deserved their victory.” Zonal Marking

Burkina Faso 1-1 Ghana: Burkina Faso dominate and win the game on penalties
“Burkina Faso upset the odds to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations final. Paul Put made various chances to the side which beat Togo – in came Artistide Bancé upfront, and Prejuce Nakoulma on the right. With two holding midfielders, Charles Kabore became the number ten and Jonathan Pitroipa moved left James Appiah made one change – Wakaso Murabak replaced Albert Adomah. Ghana went ahead but Burkina Faso deserved the win – they pressed well, passed smoothly and Bancé was magnificent upfront.” Zonal Marking