European soccer has to deal with its match-fixing scandal for the game to be taken seriously. PHOTO: Reuters
A major investigation as uncovered at least 380 "suspicious European soccer matches, including Euro Cup and World Cup qualifiers and two Championship League games. A Singapore-based crime ring is suspected of paying off officials and players, spending around $137,000 per match. That added up to $2.7 million in expenses, which they turned into $10.9 million in betting profits.
"This is a sad day for European football," Rob Wainwright, head of the European Union police organization Europol, said Monday. European soccer now has a major integrity problem. Everything up to the Euro Cup and World Cup could be called into question if European soccer can't root out this problem, they risk losing a lot of fans. If there was a major upset in a World Cup qualifier (coming soon!) would soccer fans be suspicious?
Fortunately, soccer does not have a known history of corruption.
"This is the first time we have established substantial evidence that organized crime is now operating in the world of football," Wainwright said.
No teams or players have been named yet, as the investigation is still ongoing. European soccer has to deal with this quickly and forcefully before this comes an existential threat.