“You’re Going to Lose, Why Don’t You Lose with Money in Your Pocket?” Five Points About the Tennis Match-Fixing Report

Today, April 25 - the Independent Review of Integrity in Tennis Interim Report came out in London. It cost over £15 million pounds  to complete. Five points: 1. Good job. This was independent and it accurately pointed out something that the sport has hated to admit: Tanking - deliberate under performance has long been part of tennis culture. I mean long - as in a decades long cover-up. For players were not only tanking for their own benefit (if you’re injured you...

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Poor, Old Qatar: labour conditions and the compromised fight against match-fixing

The timing could not be better. Just as the sporting world endures another hot-air session a.k.a. an international conference on match-fixing sponsored by the Qatar 2022 World Cup Committee, out comes a new report on labour conditions in Qatar and the building of the World Cup infrastructure and stadiums. The report,  by the external company charged by FIFA to monitor workers' conditions, makes for sobering reading. It seems – no surprise – that despite all the words, all the clichés, all the high-level negotiations...

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The Grey Market of Match-Fixing in European Football

Its about the grey market – il sistema - of points buying or match-fixing. This is the unspoken of secret that lurks at the heart of many European football leagues. If you have seen the announcement by the Spanish authorities of their request for a ban and jail some 41 of their top footballers, you may be scratching your head as to the driving mechanism of this alleged match-fixing.  The scandal revolves around a match in late-May 2011 between two...

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The Russian Olympic Doping File

It is a slow-moving disaster than penalizes clean athletes and rewards a dirty system. Welcome to the Russian state sponsored doping saga, episode number 58. ** Here is some context. For those readers who do not follow the fast, exciting world of winter sports in the Virgin Islands – the beach training is intense and the air conditioning can be very cold – you may have missed the sad news of Ms. Kathryn Tannenbaum, the skeleton sledder from those temperate isles. Skeleton sledding is...

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Whatever It Takes: The Inside Story of the FIFA Way

After reading - Whatever It Takes: The Inside Story of the FIFA Way - you feel dirty. It is like bathing in a pool of scummy water for hours, but is nonetheless a fascinating story from a former insider of the FIFA world. Bonita Mersiades was a senior executive in the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) and one of the point people in their doomed bid to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup. From 2008 - 2010, she had an intimate...

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FIFA Corruption: “Friends in the media”

The FIFA Corruption trial in Brooklyn is over now comes the question who really broke the story of high-level bribery and corruption in international soccer? Clue – it was not the sport journalists.  “The ladies and gentlemen of the press came a great deal cheaper than an Olympic Committee member. If their              potential accreditation to World Cup 98 did not fully concentrate their collective minds, there were always the freebies. The one thousand one hundred and eight-one (sic) journalists milled...

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Suspicious Games in the Champions League & the Great Olympic Scandal

Interesting week in international sports. Lets start with the Champions League where once again we have a ‘choke-point’ where games are regularly fixed. Here is the scenario.  You are a UEFA investigator. The rest of the world thinks that you have unlimited resources and money coming out of your elbows. You know that if you’re lucky, the system will give you a bent paper clip and an elastic band for resources to stop corruption in Europe’s premier competition – the Champions...

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FIFA trial: It’s a mob affair

Alleged FIFA crime boss For years, reporters have been fond of saying “FIFA mafia”, “Mobsters of Football”. It has made for good copy, sold lots of media space – but what words do we use now that there really is a trial that focuses on the widespread criminal activity inside FIFA? The Brooklyn Federal Court House here in New York has seen a lot of mob trials. Over the years, there have been cases involving the five big Mafia families...

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Communists, Criminals or Both? The October Revolution

The door is thick and well padded, but it was not enough to protect the leaders of the first Russian revolution. It is located in a room in the labyrinth-like Hermitage Palace on the seafront of Saint Petersburg. Today, the Hermitage is the world’s largest museum. In October 1917, it was the headquarters of the Mensheviks – a weak, social democratic government. The Mensheviks had overthrown Czar Nicholas II a few months before and captured his vast palace. Unable to govern...

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It’s a Mob Trial: FIFA in America

New York - Here at the Brooklyn Federal Court House, one of the most significant legal trials in sports history is underway.  Two-and-a-half years ago, Swiss Police kicked open the doors of the Baur-au-Lac Hotel in Zurich and began arresting high-ranking FIFA officials.  After long stretches of legal wrangling - during which twenty-four officials pled guilty to a wide-range of crimes from fraud to money laundering to racketeering - today, the case for the officials who did not plead...

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