Thursday, 8 December 2011

Match fixing: Dinamo Zagreb may have gone too far this time. Football will never be the same again.

I first wrote the dreadful words “match fixing” this week about ten minutes in to Chelsea’s Champions League clash with Valencia on Tuesday night. Then I tweeted #matchfixing again and again as I witnessed one of Spain’s top sides simply fail to bother at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea duly won 3-0, Valencia’s beaten troops left without visible disappointment at their abject failure and presto! Through comes the news that Bayer Leverkusen could only draw with hopeless Belgians Genk and Roman Abramovich, with all those roubles to his name, had the pleasure of seeing his Chelsea top their group. Out of the blue, so to speak.

Wednesday night, I flicked over from Manchester United’s appalling display at Basle to see Ajax Amsterdam denied not once but twice by an assistant referee against Real Madrid. Again. #matchfixing flew off my keyboard and in to the world of twitter (check my timeline,, it’s all there, including the vehement denials from those who don't understand what they're seeing).

And at Dinamo Zagreb, the powerhouse of Croatian football, Lyon were able to score seven goals in 28 minutes (yup, a goal every four minutes, that’s some going) to confirm their progress at Ajax’s expence. I’ve just seen a video of the so-called highlights. No tackles, no recriminations… and, incredibly, there’s one of the Dinamo lads, Domagoj Vida, giving a cheeky wink after the sixth goal.

Lyon "triumphed" 7-1 away. They scored just two goals in their first five Champions League matches – none in their last three. And while Ajax failed with a bit of help from as assistant linesman against Real Madrid, Lyon were through.

Dinamo sacked their manager Krunoslav Jurcic straight after the final whistle. A week ago they were planning for a bright future, with their side six points clear at the top of the Croatian league.

#matchfixing, #matchfixing, #matchfixing.

Afterwards, Ajax coach Frank de Boer said: "They won 7-1? Maybe I'm naive when I think it normally doesn't work like this, but if Zagreb gave the match away they should be punished. But I think it is hard to find any evidence."

Yup, #matchfixing.
Everybody thought I was bonkers. I probably am. Driven to madness by failing to realise Hansie Cronje was manipulating us all at SuperSports Park in Centurion in early 2000, when he and Nasser Hussain forfeited an innings each to manufacture a result after three days of rain in the final Test between England and South Africa.

I thought it was a great idea. So did the Fordsburg bookmaker called Banjo, who paid the now-dead Hansie to do it. He did a lot of that, dear old born-again Hansie. May he rest in peace.

Then there was the time Marseille had to score six goals against CSKA Moscow in the early 90s to get through to the early Champions League semi-finals. No problem. Turned out Bernard Tapie, the Marseille boss, had paid the goalkeeper. And I remember seeing the great Ghanaian Abedi Pele have a hopeful punt from 40 yards. Goal. Right through his arms.

On both those occasions, and several since (Pakistan’s spot fixing at Lord’s last year was another) I’ve seen things in a press box and wondered. But then I’ve stifled that doubt and written a straight match report with quotes.

Then there was that curious story a few weeks ago. Wayne Rooney's family members arrested for betting on a red card being brandished in a Scottish League match. Anybody heard anything since? Anybody think top footballers don't talk about these things all the time? But nobody dares to write about it.

Lyon's response? This: And UEFA appear reluctant to act, despite obvious evidence. Nobody will say a word in public.

It’s time for that to stop. There’s match fixing afoot at the highest level of the Champions League. I can’t prove it, but I can feel it. So can UEFA. Expect an investigation and few fines. God I wish I was wrong. Watching football will never be the same again.

Help yourself: Domagoj Vida of Dinamo winks during his side's 7-1 defeat at the hands of Lyon on Wednesday night
Keep up to date with the match-fixing investigation: and


  1. 2 links Neal!



  2. Very big scoop in the Netherlands, France and Belgium.

    Why aren't English and German papers publicing?

    Please check this website (AD) Dutch newspaper:

  3. A goal every 4 minutes? Not that unusual really! I recall a certain CSL game where there was one every 3 minutes (on average)....for the whole 90!!

  4. Valencia have won 1 out of 14 on English soil, and Chelsea's record in the group stages since 2007 has been W10-D1-L0. So I'm not quite sure what you expected as the most probable outcome in that game. And Leverkusen drawing with Genk is hardly outrageous. No problems in that group.

  5. Platini = France = UEFA

    Oympiakos – Arsenal (3-1)
    Dortmund – Marseille (2-3) 2 goals in dying minutes

    Zagreb - Lyon (1-7)
    Ajax - Real Madrid (0-3) with 2 right goals suspended because of offside!


  6. Here you have some moving evidenc:

  7. Thanks for your comments, Ajaxshowtime, am looking at those links. Not sure about Chelsea/Valencia, but the Spaniards looked so poor it was nearly unbelievable. You have to go with your instincts sometimes. James, remember that game well. Chalfont Athletic 30, Carpathians 0. Steve Fraser 15, me 1! My usual email disappeared with my stolen lap top a fortnight ago, please use

  8. Valencia tried hard to come back at Chelsea initially - they hit the post when it was one nil. They just conceded a poor second goal and heads dropped. Difficult to conclusively judge anything there....but....the Lyon and Ajax games are a different situation for sure.