By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
The BBC has just revealed, following a major three-year under-cover investigation, that match fixing in Algerian football is rife at all levels of the beautiful game!
In fact, there is a ‘quasi-official’ price list for bribing players and match officials.
For example, in the First Division, the award of a penalty kick will cost the equivalent of £6,500. Whereas, a win will cost over £50,000. Furthermore, as the season progresses towards a title or a relegation, the price correspondingly increases.
Not only are the Algerian First and Second Divisions affected, but so also are youth team games.
Although all this corruption is well-known in the country, nobody seems to be doing very much about it, apart from the Algerian Football Association (FAF) having set up an Audit Commission to monitor the finances of the leagues and the finances of the FAF itself.
A former Algerian senior football executive has stated that in Algeria “football is not just a game.” And a former FIFA executive has said that “Algerian football may have already passed the tipping point.”
FIFA, football’s world governing body, has been made aware of the BBC findings and are looking into the matter; and according to one of its spokespersons: “FIFA takes the issue of match manipulation very seriously as we believe that protecting the integrity of football is paramount.”
Fine words indeed, but, of course, they need to be followed swiftly by appropriate and decisive action to kick corruption out of football wherever it rears its ugly head!
Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’