Match fixing is neither new nor irregular, proof of this is that between now and last June there have been at least eight separate news article based upon match fixing purely on The Guardian website with over 30 people arrested or charged in that time.
These include high profile cases such as Former Premier League footballer Delroy Facey, charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and the most recent being Manchester United footballer Ander Herrera who is embroiled in a large scale investigation.
News broke on Monday of a million euro match fixing scandal in Spain between first division sides of the time Real Zaragoza and Levante. An expansive total of 41 players, coaches and directors have been named in connection to the investigation and all will come under great scrutiny in the coming months.
It relates to an end of season clash in 2011 between the sides where Real Zaragoza needed a win to ensure survival. It is believed the Levante players were paid to lose this game.
Ruining the game
There is no doubt that match fixing has the ability to single handedly ruin the game if it becomes a regular occurrence. While small scale and only occasional it can be ignored and punished, but if it emerges more frequently in the sport then it becomes very difficult to manage. How can you constantly monitor thousands of footballers across a hundred different leagues? Clubs need to take on greater responsibility when it comes to match fixing, any suspicion must be dealt with instantly and monitored.
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In the Zaragoza case there is even suspicion of management and directors being involved, one named is former Real Zaragoza manager Javier Aguirre, now managing the Japanese national side. If it goes as far as directors or management being involved then just how do a club stop it?
Another involved within this scandal is Jefferson Montero, who has this season burst onto the scene with Swansea. Montero was playing for Levante at the time. Another problem is the culture change, in England match fixing is viewed as disgusting and the thought of a top flight English player being involved, while not unlikely, would be a lot more shocking.
This is because in England it is drummed into players a lot more, it's a value that they are brought up with. But what about in Montero’s home country Ecuador? While it would be known to be illegal, how heavily would players be warned about this? We saw a similar situation with Luis Suarez and the racism row with Patrice Evra, while Suarez will have known such racist language was wrong, it wasn’t such an issue in his home country Uruguay.
But how do you bridge this gap between cultures? You can’t change how people are brought up in other countries, a country's laws or their emphasis upon topics such as match fixing. What has to be done when foreign players arrive is informal training in what they can and can’t do in football. Greek football only this month saw a massive 16 people charged with match fixing which again emphasises the difference in culture between different countries
The bottom line is that clubs need to take more responsibility when monitoring match fixing, whether it be players, management or directors.