Europol Reveals Hundreds of Soccer Matches Worldwide Are Fixed

March 5, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings 
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. rigged (adj.) – having a result that is already planned or fixed ahead of time
Example: They discovered that the match was rigged before winners were announced.

2. suspicious (adj.) – questionable or showing something that seems wrong
Example: The officials watched the video of the game to check for suspicious activity from the players.

3. bribe (v.) – to give someone money so that he or she would decide to do something
Example: Some criminals bribed the player to lose the soccer game.

4. bet (n.) – an agreement between two or more people to give money to the person who correctly guesses the result of a future event
Example The two soccer fans made a bet on which team would win the championship.

5. underworld (n.) – the criminal part of society
Example: Activities in the underworld are difficult to track especially if some police are helping the criminals.

Read the text below

Europol, the European Union’s collective police force, has discovered around 680 rigged soccer matches across the world. These suspicious games include matches in the Champions League and qualifying games for the World Cup and European Championship.

In 2011, Europol started the investigation on suspicious games. Since then, the police force has found many cases of match-fixing, in which a game’s result is already decided before a match.

Europol head Rob Wainwright said criminals are making money from rigged matches.  The criminals spent two million euros ($2.7 million) bribing players and officials to win or lose a game. The criminals also earned around eight million euros ($10.9 million) through game bets. Wainwright added that a criminal network in Singapore spent 100,000 euros ($136,500) in match-fixing.

Since 2008, 425 officials, players and criminals from more than 15 nations have been part of soccer’s illegal activity. The Europol identified the possible match-fixing leaders as Asians, Russians and Europeans. However, Europol did not drop names to avoid causing problems to the investigations.

Wainwright said they finally have enough evidence of rigged soccer matches organized by crime groups. However, Europol is having a hard time shutting down underworld operations because they are happening globally.

The agency will send the investigation results to UEFA, the organization that monitors and organizes soccer games in Europe.

In 2009, UEFA banned a Bosnian referee from the World Cup after helping fix a game between Liechtenstein and Finland. The organization also removed a player involved in a rigged match between Malta and Norway in 2012.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         What punishment should sports organizers give to people who fix matches? Please explain your answer.
·         How might fans feel if they knew that the games they watched were rigged?

Discussion B

·         Why is honesty important in sports?
·         How can we encourage people not to do something dishonest?


March 5, 2013