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Friday, May 08, 2009

How corrupt is UEFA?

I'm now officially suspicious about UEFA.

Normally, when people refer to corruption in football, they mean attempts to fix matches by dodgy Far Eastern gangs. The discussions focus on whether players 'threw' games, whether they might have taken a 'bung', whether the betting patterns reveal a coup.

But I'm beginning to wonder about UEFA's role in a couple of very odd incidents.

The first relates to whether they have been rigging the draw for the Champions' League in order to manipulate the big box-office matches that they want. Last year, the quarter final draw was revealed to a Liverpool fans website two hours before it was made.

Now, that's either a 104-1 lucky guess, or else it is overt corruption. According to UEFA, it was just a lucky guess. They then refused to say anything further on the matter.

However, the original post which revealed the draw suggested that not only was the draw a pre-decided issue, but that the details had come from a disgusted UEFA employee and that bookies had ceased to take bets on the matter, which they indeed had.

But things got even stranger on Wednesday night. My sympathies go out to Chelsea, who were effectively robbed of a second successive Champions' League final appearance by the extremely erratic, if not downright bogus, behaviour of the referee, who is now in hiding after he denied Chelsea at least two legitimate penalties.

Feeling hard done by, one Chelsea player chased the ref about the pitch yelling in his face, while another roared his disgust at the TV cameras, and a third has since come out stating that he believes the ref was 'under orders.'

Sour grapes? Perhaps. Until, that is, you hear that the UEFA website posted the result of the game HOURS before it even kicked off!

The 'test' post was supposedly a dummy run. But it had the correct score and even named the players who were booked!

Chelsea's manager, one of the most respected and experienced names in football, has openly speculated that the referee was under orders not to allow Chelsea to proceed to a second final against Manchester United, because UEFA thought a second all-English final looked bad.

Of course, UEFA have dismissed suggestions of a fix. But they also ordered the match referee to go into hiding and not to talk to the press.

Books such as the excellent 'The Ball is Round' have examined the corporate corruption of UEFA, and its parent body FIFA, and revealed how football administration at the very top is run by some extremely dodgy people.

I'm now wondering just how dodgy they are. Dodgy enough to rig a draw? Dodgy enough to rig a game? Dodgy enough to pick and choose who should play in the world's biggest club football game - the Champions' League final?

Perhaps they are.


Random Joe said...

Is there money to be made? Yes.

Of course it's corupt.

The more money that's involved the more corrupt it will be.

What can be done about it? There's a lot of things in this world that could be solved by a good sniper team and a cleverly worded " don't do it again" type letter.

boro said...

One flaw in your argument JC.

The dodgy ref sent off a Barcelona defender (for absolutely nothing) with over 25 minutes of the game left to play.

Any reasonable person at that point might have expected Chelsea to actually score another goal or at least to see out the game comfortably.

The ref wasn't corrupt or under orders, he was just very, very shit.

Rua, said...

I this instance I think corruption has worked. Chelsea lost, we have two attacking sides in the Champions League final, it's going to be an amazing game of football

FP said...

EPL and the British press has had it in for UEFA for some time now, because of Michel Platini's plans to make the sport fair(er).

Hardly surprising then that when the powerful interests behind Chelsea and their ilk don't get their money-grubbing way we have a conspiracy theory industry taking off.

JC Skinner said...

Platini, whatever the British press think of him, is definitely not trying to make the sport 'fairer'!
I'm happy to accept the ref might be crap rather than corrupt.
What I'm not happy about is how Champions League draws and results are emerging before they actually take place.

Rua Rua said...

Platini is a chief! I will not hear a bad word said against him. Football is very sick at the moment and it needs a strong character to flush out the cynicism, greed and corruption that have crippled it for the last 20 years.

Platini might just be our man. Worst case scenario he doesn't change a thing

boro said...

Well the results emerging before the games is either incredibly lucky or incredibly dodgy. Same with the draw (though i think that was luck).

The games last season between Man U and Barcelona were a bit turgid at times, dont know why everyone expects a goal fest in the final. I think it will be a particularly tight 1-0 win settled by a contestable refereeing decision.

JC Skinner said...

I tried to get odds on that, Boro, but Paddy Power isn't taking bets on dodgy refereeing in the final.
Apparently it's a foregone conclusion.

Anonymous said...

Funny how the press had no problems with didgy refereeing decisions in the Catastrophe in Constantinople and the lead up to it.

Anonymous said...

i believe that UEFA is corrupt as there is too much money going around in football. UEFA r rigging the draws and maybe even the results aswell. the referee of the chelsea vs barca match had orders both to control the result of the match and to also not speek to the press. UEFA r a disgrace. As for platini it is only a matter of time before he gets a big increase in his bank account to look the other way. If theres money to be made they will do anything to get a share.