The show kicks off with talk about the match-fixing allegations in Europe and how the matches in question were in Eastern and Southern European nations, particularly the former Soviet states. Stephen also notes reports of odd betting patterns from the Far East--Hong Kong, Singapore.
So far only minor Euro qualifiers, Intertoto Cup matches and a Champions League qualifier are under investigation, but this opens a nasty can of worms. A former betting shop employee rang in with some interesting comments, in particular one where the house would stop taking bets once a weird pattern is noticed; too much liability to assume.
Clearly, without a goalie or referee, or both, in the bag, a scheme has no hope. And this story has no legs unless some major names fall. Much like steroids in baseball, no one cared until a connection was made to Barry Bonds.
- Is the Premiership the most competitive league in the world? That's tonight's poll question.
- Euro predictions: Stephen--Germany; Nick--Germany. Dark horses--Croatia and Italy [Don't see how the world champions are dark horses, but...]
- Kaka is the Balon d'Or winner but Stephen says he won this game for his performance in the second leg against Manchester United in the Champions League. Nick says Ronaldo was the best player in the world while Stephen counters with Riquelme, counting his international duties as well. Remember his performance at Copa America? But that reasoning falls short -- this is for European performances. Messi? Nick slams his Hand of God goal and says that cost him. Ronaldo finished third behind Messi, but he's probably the best choice. United doesn't win the Premiership without him and he's carrying the team in the Champions League right now.
- Callers aren't falling for the poll question. Right now they say the Premiership is not the world's most competitive.
- Messi is the most exciting, dynamic player from a fan's perspective, a caller says, but Ronaldo is probably more deserving--and he's right.
- Another good point: Milan was docked points on match fixing and was able to focus solely on the Champions League, which also helped Kaka's visibility to win such an award.