Football Is Fixed Again
Consider what was at stake. The World Cup being held in Brazil has not been universally welcomed by its citizens. Revelations about bribery and corruption at the top of FIFA have not helped. For months there have been demonstrations and riots as the poor demanded that the billions spent on new stadia should have gone towards improved health care and better education. Sao Paulo saw protests before the opening ceremony. There were demonstrations in several cities - some brutally dealt with by the police.
The performance of the national team in the opening game had more riding on it than usual. A poor result would have made the situation for the government and FIFA worse. Widespread rioting and anti-FIFA demonstrations would have jeopardised the tournament and painted both organisations in a worse light.
Match fixing is not uncommon in football. Experience from Italy, Russia, South America and several African countries informs us that nothing in world football is to be taken at face value. And what easier way to influence a result than to ensure a match official does his bit for the cause? Nothing like a little bit of insurance….
Croatia upset the plan by scoring first. Whoops. Time for some helpful interventions by the ref:
- Neymar could have been sent off prior to scoring the equaliser.
- The penalty awarded to put Brazil in front was derided as ‘soft’ by commentators. For ‘soft’ read ‘bent.’
- Disallowing a possible equaliser from Croatia.
Brazil win 3-1 and thousands dance on the streets. The £7billion spent on the tournament is safe for now.
FIFA and the Brazilian government breathe a sigh of relief. The commentariat concentrate on diving. All is well with the world.