Match Fixing In Soccer

England is the latest league to be hit with a match-fixing scandal.

To respond to the pundit in the video, no, there are no 'low-level' sides in English soccer because it's the biggest league in the world. Low-level in England is top flight in other leagues. Same with the Bundesliga (Germany), Serie A (Italy) and La Liga (Spain). Those leagues combined possess pretty much all the best talent on the planet.

Which brings into light something I've been saying for the better of seven or eight years now - that corruption in soccer knows no boundaries and reaches the very apex of FIFA and UEFA itself. It's no surprise a game with this kind of popularity and powerful revenue sources will be hijacked from time to time by criminal elements. It's a reality.

That's why it's irritating to hear the 'Hyperboreans' act with such moral indignation when match fixing takes place in Italy.

The English press and fans alike - as they're apt to do for some reason - never seem to miss a chance to be highly critical of Italian soccer.

Yet, some of the biggest scandals in soccer history never really involved Italy while places like Germany, Austria, France and Belgium (and Spain) have all had their fair share of major scandals. Germany and Belgium in particular. A few years ago British investigative show Panorama delved into the world of corruption in English soccer back in 2006 in a documentary titled 'Football's Dirty Secrets."

It was hardly discussed in the North American media despite the involvement of a major side like Chelsea and historical ones like Newcastle United. How soon we forget!

Rather, the Anglo-centric media chose to make a major issue of Italian match fixing around that time. Recall the acrimony surrounding the Azzurri after the revelations? They used it to win their 4th World Cup.

Had England won in such a manner one could only imagine the superlatives used to describe their "heroic" and "spirited" victory.

As one Lebanese business man told me once, "England only does big corruption."

Between the lines, to me, this meant it conveniently allows them to pass judgment on the small scandals since the real major ones rarely are caught.

It's the same perception errors we see with "diving" in the sport. It was outrageously asserted Italy was the poster child for such behavior but when you consult the facts and understand the history of the game, they're no better or worse than most nations. Not even the 'Hyperboreans' despite their haughty claims of playing 'honorable' (which is bull shit), are not immune.

Theatrics in soccer was basically invented in South America and the master actors are by far the Brazilians and Argentinians. Heaven forbid, Brazil gets taken to task for it. Both of them, incidentally, lead all nations when it comes to red cards in the World Cup.

With all that skill, flair and genius, comes some less than impressive antics. Know what? That mirrors life I've come to discover and accept.

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