The High-Risk Week for the UEFA Champions League

This is the week for the Champions League fixes.

NYON, SWITZERLAND - AUGUST 06:  The UEFA Champions League trophy is displayed after the UEFA Champions League play-off draw on August 6, 2010 in Nyon, Switzerland. The play-offs are played over two legs on 17/18 and 24/25 August. The ten play-off winners will join the 22 automatic entrants in the UEFA Champions League group stage, the draw for which will be held in Monaco on 26 August 26, 2010. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/EuroFootball/Getty Images)

The two matches to watch carefully (I do not say that they will be fixed, I am simply red-flagging the games) are Turkish champions Besiktas versus perennial no-hopers Dynamo Kiev and Juventus versus Dinamo Zagreb.  Yes, the same Dinamo Zagreb of the infamous winking 7-1 loss to Olympique de Lyon in the same round of the Champions League in 2011.

The conditions that make me red-flag these games are:

1)   Neither of the Dinamo teams have anything to play for in these matches.  The great football academic Stefan Szymanski once wrote of the “disparity in desire” that gives way to potential fixing.  This round in the Champions League where one team has everything to play for (Besiktas can still qualify for the next round, Juventus plays for next round advantage) and the other team nothing is an open door to fixing.

2)  This is not potential gambling match-fixing but arrangements of the kind that has been around in European football since at least the 1980s (Bernard Tapie, et al).

Finally, this kind of potential fixing is very easy to stop.  Tournament incentives are the way to do it.  Leandro Shara in Chile is one of the world’s leading experts in structuring tournaments and leagues to stop arrangement fixing.  If I were the new FIFA head of security it would be my first task to get him (or a similar expert) to go through all tournaments to ensure that this kind of disparity of desire is eliminated as much as possible.

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Comments (9)

  • Semih Reply

    Hi Declan,
    You guessed right.We watched your theories become true at Dynamo Kiev-Besiktas match.I’m a Besiktas fan by the way.Wish never happened,sad but true.

    December 7, 2016 at 1:50 am
  • Isac Reply

    Oh man you were absolutely right, I wish I had seen your post before betting for Besiktas. Next time I`ll check the referee too. This Craig Thomas is corrupt, everybody knows it. It seems inside UEFA job.

    December 7, 2016 at 3:05 am
  • Burak Reply

    Hey Declan,
    You were right on your guess about Dynamo Kiev-Besiktas match. The refree just gifted the match to Dynamo Kiev.

    December 7, 2016 at 3:30 am
  • Alex Reply

    Dear Declan,
    Was a foresight deserves respect. Precautions can hardly block match fixing crimes. A person like Leandro Shara could never, despite how good he might be. Why UEFA does not implement the most aversive -career ending, bankrupting; punishment to referee team of the fixed match along with all other quite use of tech like supporting video referee. At the end football is not just a game.

    December 7, 2016 at 5:53 am
  • Mustafa Uljar Reply

    you got it right, except in the wrong order. Unfortunately, the Turkish press is too dumb to recognize this.

    December 7, 2016 at 7:36 am
  • onder Reply

    man you were right. that craig ^the murderer^ guy killed our hopes. wish another team don’t suffer from cheaters. keep your good work!

    December 7, 2016 at 9:23 am
  • OZ Reply

    In an uefaCOLD fixed Kiev night, a 20th-century drama action re-script was well played by not the Braveheart William Wallace but the Disgraceful Robert the Bruce. Well paid actor Craig Thomson were co-stared by D. McGeachie, A. Mulvanny, K. Clancy and A. Dallas. Calling this acting gang as Scottish Referee team would be shame to all Scotland. This gang is already in the history lines of UEFA arranged match fixing. A dark list where their names will stay forever and who paid them will be EUnknown.

    December 8, 2016 at 3:03 am
  • Ahmet Reply

    You are a very populer guy in turkey now.if you want we love you more (talk about the uefa cup matchs to night) please

    December 8, 2016 at 5:19 am
  • PeaceOff Reply

    you weren’t right! you wanted to pay attention, that kiev could sell the game against besiktas.But no hopers kiev scored 6 goals..You have to apologize to both team Besiktan and Dinamo Kiev. Do you want to say something about refferee? shame on you!!

    December 9, 2016 at 10:49 am

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