The changing landscape of match-fixing in football

21 Apr 2022 | 08:04 | Football

After just eight matches, Moni realized that the aim of the club was only to stay in the BCL while making money from colluding with other forces through various forms of match-fixing.

When former Saifur national team striker Rahman Moni stepped down from the Bangladesh Championship League (BCL) team two weeks ago, it was perhaps the first time in the country that a professional soccer coach has made a move. so to oppose what he believes. was orchestrated by its officials and players.

The rookie coach, who had put his heart and soul into the work of Club Azampur, it didn’t take long to realize that his ambition was to become the manager of a club in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). someday, where he signed up to an AFC A licensing course, is not the club’s ambitions.

After just eight matches, Moni realized that the aim of the club was only to stay in the BCL while making money from colluding with other forces through various forms of match-fixing.

It’s not that Moni hasn’t seen match-fixing in Bangladeshi football before; In fact, when he hung up his boots in 2008, things weren’t much better. But with professionalism being coerced into the top two levels for over a decade and regulations in place, it is certainly expected that things will be much cleaner.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. Fixed matchmaking is as common today, if not more, as it was years ago; the only difference is in the media and method operands.

In the old days, match-fixing used to be quite straightforward: the two clubs playing a particular match would decide in advance the outcome of the match, and the club hierarchy would guide their players. they act in a particular way. It is usually done to give a club an advantage in a title race or relegation battle and the reward will be cash or in kind.

Today, the whole nature of the fixed game has changed, due to the availability of live TV channels and live updates on football apps. Match fixing has evolved into spot fixing, online betting and other forms in such a way that a single goal, or a particular stat, may or may not affect the final outcome of a game. play, which can be valued at tens of thousands of takas or dollars. Obviously there will be agents on the field and perhaps in caves, but the masterminds are most likely operating from the confines of their homes in a remote location, sometimes beyond borders.

The first online betting and match-fixing case involving a Bangladeshi football club was exposed last year at the BPL. It is a unique case for Bangladesh, with people from within the country and beyond joining hands and importing ideas, and using a criminal club to make illegal money.

But once the red flag was raised by the Asian football body, Arambagh KS – the club found guilty – and several of their players and officials failed to save. An exemplary punishment was given, which seems to have forced the dark forces to leave the BPL.

But those forces and ideas are still very much at work in our football, particularly in the BCL and lower leagues, where regulation is lax and oversight is scant.

Another factor contributing to the popularity of match-fixing here is the lack of close scrutiny these clubs receive prior to being approved to play in the leagues.

In theory, a professional club should meet a number of criteria, including having a solid financial foundation as well as having the right training facilities, certified coaching staff and facilities. for the players. However, some of the clubs currently playing in the BCL tier are very poor in these criteria, especially in terms of financial conditions. The purpose of these clubs is to act as a means of helping other clubs or serving the needs of online gamblers and bettors.

According to media reports, at least five of the 12 clubs operating within the BCL are involved in one way or another with such suspicious activities.

Moni, in an interview with The Daily Star, called the situation in the BCL an epidemic. Now without a job, the aspiring coach may have to wait a while before taking another job, but his personal sacrifice has had a positive impact in the form of questions posed. and investigations.

If the response from the authorities leads to something akin to the Arambagh episode, then Moni’s resignation is well deserved and he can certainly dream of returning soon to a duke untainted by black coin.