Just Prior to the World Cup FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, was investigating a match fixing scheme in South Africa. FIFA was alerted to the scandal after a South African referee was caught depositing $100,000 cash in small bills. The scandal has stained South African soccer officials although FIFA has not officially accused anyone or banned anyone from the sport.
Most US fans probably don’t realize that FIFA has been dogged by allegations of corruption for years, In fact, in an article by the Guardian detailing the investigation, soccer is often a target for corruption and match fixing because of the poor economics and political climate from where teams originate.
Although corruption has vexed soccer for years, the South Africa case gives an unusually detailed look at the ease with which professional gamblers can fix matches, as well as the governing body’s severe problems in policing itself and its member federations. -Guardian.com
But the economic super powers of The United States and Germany are above such corruption……aren’t they.
Not according to a report from Ghanaweb.com that alledged that Germany and the United States are conspiring to match fix but not for money. But for Cronyism.
After Team USA played to a draw against Portugal on Sunday, both Germany and the US have four points going into their match on Thursday. A tie between the two would give each team 5 points and they would both advance regardless of the outcome of Portugal’s match against Ghana. A loss would eliminate either team. It is this dynamic coupled with the sports history of corruption that is fueling rumors about a possible fix.
German coach Joachim Loew and US coach Juergen Klinsmann have a friendly relationship but despite that Loew denies having any communication with his friend during the World Cup.
“My relationship with Juergen is brilliant but we have not had any frequent contacts during this tournament and l believe it will stay that way till after the tournament”. -Ghanaweb.com
But that’s not enough to keep Ghanaweb.com of accusing the two coaches of conspiring to fix the match.
The question was not directly put to Loew but journalists covering the World Cup believed something of the sort could be on the cards as the current favourable standings of the two teams on the group table could make Germany play it soft against the USA in their last match to enable both qualify from the group for the next round. -Ghanaweb.com
Considering the source, Ghanaweb.com, the rumors are likely sour grapes but they illustrate how soccer’s latest scandals are affecting the integrity of the game. When fans start to lose faith that a given result is purely the result of athletic competition it is not just soccer that suffers but international sport.