This is apparently a big deal, and the U.S. hasn't shown light on this until this week. Awesome.
With the amount of sports research that I have done over the course of three years, I'm not a stranger to the concept of betting in the world of sports and the numerous cartel and gang activity involved in international sporting events. Almost all of these practices are illegal--other practices I will mention later--but some are so immense that they cannot truly be stopped by the government (and even the military) in various nations; therefore, they are a not-so-underground sensation that has been a sudden driving force in sports.
This week, news reports have been increasing in the United States noting that there have been many suspicious results in soccer matches. They have been occurring mostly in Europe and in places like Singapore. Normally, it's one of those things in which you might just see one and go, "Okay, this is just a one-time thing, and they'll get in trouble for it." This time around, it looks like there have been way more cases than before, and because it is all suspicion, nothing can really be done to erase any results or the like. Guys, we're talking almost 700 cases here. If there have been wonky results and suspicions taking place in events as big as the UEFA Champions League--the European soccer "World Series," as it were--you know something's wrong.
There may be the saying that "All the world's a stage, and we are merely players," but this is only the tip of the iceberg here. How exactly are athletes "playing?" Are they playing the games honestly, or are they playing with plans of a plot twist in the story? Even if they are playing, are the game officials playing along instead? Is it the people outside of the game, where booking and betting are getting a bit more extreme in influencing match results?
Is this what sports is coming to? Is this becoming almost as staged as professional wrestling? We've heard of many cases that have come around betting and fixing games, such as the Black Sox of 1919, the Andres Escobar murder case from the 1994 FIFA World Cup, and even the recent "Bountygate" with the New Orleans Saints. It's a general understanding that sports is a form of entertainment, but it could also be argued that the whole idea of entertainment is engulfing the idea of what a sport truly is. The one thing that should be brought to mind is that betting and gambling is a huge form of revenue around the world. Yes, it can be considered a major worldwide business. As crazy as it sounds, it's a more common practice outside of the United States. Think betting on horse races on a grander scale.
However, since it's getting out of hand, it needs regulation from outside resources. Organizations like FIFA and UEFA can't control these forms of "business;" practices such as gambling and betting can only truly be controlled by the police and organizations such as Europol and Interpol. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a very complicated process that will take a very long time to chip away at and get to the bottom of. Seriously, it is pretty nasty. It isn't like the whole betting thing has been ignored, it's just that it's happening so frequently that international soccer organizations haven't been able to keep track of all of them and inform police officials on it.
I understand that many of you American readers don't think too highly of soccer as much as the other sports you watch, but truthfully, be thankful that you don't have to worry much about controversy like this. It has become a very serious thing, and numerous teams and leagues could be under investigation due to betting and match-fixing. This is worse than steroids, people. This stuff could get people killed and/or thrown under the bus for illegal practices.
You don't mess with sports. Somehow, people like to cheat death and do it anyway.
There isn't much for me to say about the matter since I've mapped a good amount of it out for you here. This is just a really big issue that is going to take a long time to straighten out and clean up. Grant it, this means big money loss in areas, but there are just times when pushing the envelope should not be an option. The overindulgence of match-fixing has really screwed up the sporting atmosphere and now people are going to get in trouble for it. This is why we can't have nice things, people. Betting and booking means money, but again, you just don't mess with sports. It's like you're taking natural talent and moving them around like pawns. It's a game, but it shouldn't be that kind of game.
What do you think?