Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Betting Scandal Envelops Liverpool Win over Besiktas

Have Asian mobsters gotten to players on the Besiktas team? Could be; Europol is investigating Liverpool's 8-0 Champions League win over the small Turkish side, whose players are not in the same tax bracket as Anfield's boys.

Big money came in on "the over" for last month's group stage match. Liverpool hammered Besiktas and still has a chance to hop into the knockout stage because of its outrageous goal difference heading into next week's final group stage matches.

Were Besiktas players on the take? Did they lay down? If Michel Platini had enough to turn it over to Euro authorities, maybe they did.

No one is talking right now on either side; Liverpool says it hasn't been contacted--but why would they. You can't bribe someone to win in football!! The scary thing is that frequency with which this is being made public. None of us should be naive to think betting doesn't influence sport. But it's getting to levels where major matches are being impacted and big money is moving. Worse is the intimidation and blackmail levied against players from smaller organizations.

It will be interesting to see how UEFA reacts in the longterm here. It has a lot to lose obviously if the integrity of the game is in question. But a more important issue is on the people level. What will it do to shelter players and clubs from the influence of organized crime? How can it safeguard its product from these influences?

This should be priority No. 1 for Mssr. Platini.

Here's some history: Good read on the 1915 British football betting scandal.

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