ONE OF the most important figures in the investigation of match fixing in football, Declan Hill, speaks at Play the Game at 4pm on what the football world can do about corruption writes James Bourne.
Hill, author of The Fix, described as “the most explosive story of sports corruption in a generation”, broke a story in the Daily Telegraph in 2008 over the murder of two Chinese students living in Newcastle for their part in the illegal Asian gambling markets.
Match fixing is not a recent issue in football, although coverage has increased over the past couple of years, giving credence to opinion that it is on the rise.
In March, Michel Platini, the head of UEFA, stated his belief that match fixing was “the most serious problem facing the sport”. This announcement came a month before Macedonian club FK Pobeda was banned from European competition for eight years for deliberately losing a Champions League qualifier in 2004.
The highest profile case in recent memory involved three Italian clubs – Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina – who were demoted from the top flight in 2006 following a tribunal, with Juventus receiving an extra 30 point penalty and being stripped of their last two Serie A titles.
For individuals, there is potentially a threat of prison, which was the fate of referee Robert Hoyser, after he admitted trying to throw matches in the German second and third tier. Hoyser received a 29 month jail sentence in 2005 – proving that the authorities severely punish those who are caught.