EXCLUSIVE | Canadian soccer an easy target for match-fixing

Online betting drives global interest in domestic games

Play VideoCBC's Diana Swain looks into match fixing in a Canadian soccer league

An international match-fixing syndicate set its sights on a Canadian soccer league in hopes the lower-level games were far enough out of the spotlight that officials wouldn’t suspect tampering, wiretaps obtained by CBC News suggests.

The Canadian Soccer League is a semi-professional league that runs in Ontario and Quebec.The Canadian Soccer League is a semi-professional league that runs in Ontario and Quebec. (Canadian Soccer League)The syndicate targeted the Canadian Soccer League (CSL), a semi-pro league in Ontario and Quebec that serves as a feeder system for Canadian major league clubs.

CBC News obtained evidence of the match-fixing from hundreds of hours of police wiretaps revealed during a 2011 German court case into one of thelargest sports-fixing scandals to hit Europe. The syndicate manipulated domestic league games around the world.

In Canada, interviews conducted by CBC News with dozens of players, soccer officials and other sources painted a picture of a semi-pro league in which players were routinely approached to fix games.

Stefan Conen, a lawyer representing one of the European fixers convicted in the Berlin court, not only admitted to CBC News that his client helped fixed a game in Canada, but says the syndicate targeted the CSL for a specific reason.

“It’s easier to fix a game in the lower leagues, there’s less control, less attention to those games, plus the players earn less so they’re easier to compromise for money,” Conen said.

Some CSL players earn only about $5,000 for a season of weekend games.

“If we don’t become rich here, then I don’t know where we could become rich,” the plotters were caught saying on the wiretaps.

Small matches, big business

One Canadian Soccer League player, who spoke to CBC News on the condition of anonymity, described how he was approached to fix a game outside a team dressing room.

‘The betting industry is a global business. It’s 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.’—Darren Small, Sportradar director of integrity

“[The] guy called me over to the fence where the fans are and he’s like, ‘Wanna make some money?'”

The player said he has been repeatedly propositioned over the past couple seasons to fix games. “I get approached a lot and me, personally, I turn it down.”

However, not all players turned it down, according to the wiretaps.

“I gave the money to [a player] who has family in Canada,” one of the fixers was heard saying. “The bagman went to see him in Canada.”

Experts suggest the European crime syndicate concentrated on the obscure league in Canada because of recent trends in online betting.

“The betting industry is a global business. It’s 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” said Darren Small, the director of integrity at England-based Sportradar, a company that monitors sports gambling. “So the operators wish to offer a match for betting at any second of any part of the day.”

Gamblers are not just betting on who wins the game, but by the number of goals scored, or even how many red or yellow cards will be handed out by the referee.

“A game in Canada may not be of any particular interest to a domestic audience,” said Small. “But actually, abroad in Asia, in Europe, in other parts of North America, maybe in South America there may be an interest in that game because it is being offered live and there is an activity on it on the betting side.”

Canadian Soccer League games are available on dozens of online gambling sites, which allow wagers of up to 150,000 Euros ($180,000 Cdn) on a single game.

Toronto player denies taking bribe

Wiretaps also show that the crime syndicate targeted a Sept. 12, 2009, game in Trois-Rivières between its home team, Attak, and Toronto Croatia.

Antonijo Zupan, shown playing in a 2011 game, allegedly took a bribe during his time with Toronto Croatia to fix a game in 2009. He denies the accusation.Antonijo Zupan, shown playing in a 2011 game, allegedly took a bribe during his time with Toronto Croatia to fix a game in 2009. He denies the accusation. (Rogers TV)One of the fixers, a man identified as Zivko Budimir, flew to Canada a month before the game to make contacts and organize the details of the fix.

The documents state he helped arrange and deliver a bribe of 15,000 Euros ($18,000 Cdn) to former CSL All-Star and league veteran Antonijo Zupan to be shared with other people, including several unnamed players on his team.

Former Trois-Rivières player Reda Aggouram, who played in that game, told CBC News he had no idea that some players on the Croatia team were being paid to manipulate the game. He does remember scoring an easy goal.

“I remember my goal, it was the free kick for us. One of our players took the free kick, and then the goalie, he didn’t punch it away, he punched it in front of the net, and then I took the rebound,” Aggouram said. “I know that it was an easy goal for us. Normally, that kind of goal shouldn’t happen.”

Wiretaps show that Zupan and four other teammates agreed to lose by at least two goals, the required goal differential for the fixers to be able to cash in on their bets. During the game, Zupan missed a crucial penalty kick that would have tied the game 2-2 in the second half. The Attak won the game, 4-1.

Aggouram remembers being surprised. “I didn’t think we were going to win that game 4-1 because they were one of the best teams in the league” he said.

Zupan, who resides in Toronto and no longer plays professional soccer, said he had no idea why the match fixers talked about his involvement in their scheme on those wiretaps. He denied receiving any money.

“Nobody paid me,” Zupan said. “I don’t know. That’s my explanation.”

‘One can start a team there with $150,000 and play in the first league right away.’—Zivko Budimir

Crime syndicate pondered team purchase

The wiretaps show that just after midnight on Sept. 13, 2009, hours after the Trois-Rivières game, Budimir texted one of the syndicate leaders, Marijo Cvrtak, about their successful fix.

“At least something is right in this crappy life … Friend, if we don’t become rich here, then I don’t know where we could become rich,” wrote Budimir.

According to the captured conversations between Budimir and Cvrtak, their interest in the CSL went beyond fixing just one game. Shortly after the match, Budimir phoned Cvrtak to plan how to fix another game in the CSL in “the future.”

The wiretaps also show that Budimir had approached other players to determine everything from how much an average player makes in the league to what it would cost to purchase an entire team in the CSL.

“One can start a team there with $150,000 and play in the first league right away.”

Tips?

They also seemed pleased to hear how much they could wager on CSL games. “And one can bet $100,000 in Canada without any problems,” Cvrtak told Budimir, according to the wiretaps.

CSL chairman Vincent Ursini says that while he is personally not aware of any match fixing in his league, he did ask FIFA, the world soccer governing body, to investigate.

“We were told that FIFA was going to be handling this,” he said. “We were going to be informed as soon as they had findings.”

missing/resting players

Union de Santa Fe – Boca Juniors

Boca will rotate squad because of copa Sudamericana game

Thinking Independent rematch, Falcioni will most alternates to visit Santa Fe Union . passes and knows the team.

A tie dying for Independent complicated at first glance, the picture of Boca in Copa Sudamericana . Less than two days for the next confrontation , Falcioni disputed several of the common holders stay in Buenos Aires to rest thinking back next Wednesday.

Alternates who will have their chance to face tatengue, with the requirement that Boca pinned follow the championship fight. But the kids will not be alone: ​​will be accompanied by some references as Rolando Schiavi and Diego Rivero . Meanwhile, Oscar Ustari , having recovered from his strained hamstring, not the game on Saturday, but before the Red.

To emphasize the ownership of Acosta and Albin , who yesterday joined his first minutes, and the First Division debut in juvenile Fernando Evangelista , a left lateral to be followed.

With this background, training for Saturday is: Sebastian D’Angelo; Emiliano Albin, Rolando Schiavi, Christian Cellay, Fernando Evangelista, Diego Rivero, Cristian Erbes, Nicolás Colazo; Leandro Paredes; Lautaro Acosta and Nicolas Blandi.

Sweden, Djurgården – Helsingborg

Djurgarden -0,25 @ 1,93

Djurgarden come into good form (didnt loose on 16 games). Have some missings but nothing new, they are without that players few games
Helsingborg palyed before 3 days Champions elague game with Celtic, loose 2-0 but still hope they can make mirracle and come into CL groups so rotations are important. Also they have some important missings: defenders Hanstveit (15/0), Edman (6/0), Atta (12/2), Wahlstedt (6/0) and probably Sadiku (18/0) + midfielders Bergholtz (5/0) and Lindstrom (14/0) all out.

Lokomotiv Moskva – Dinamo Moskva

Lokomotiv’s chairman Olga come into dressing room after last game. She was angry on palyers after bad resaults. She said that she will double up their winning premiums for this tree next games so players will be extra motivated
Dinamo played Europa league game 2 days ago in Germany, loose vs Stuttgart 2-0, now playing 2nd game for 3 days

Lokomotiv out: Guilherme (gk 0/0), Torbinski (mf 1/0)

Dinamo out: Rykov (df 5/0), Kuranyi (att 5/0)

Fenerbahce – Gaziantepspor

Fener loose first game for groups of Champions League (Spartak Moscow) and now waiting 2nd, most important game at home. Some rotations are expected. Also, they will play without fans, only children and women are possible. H2h is also very suspicious to me, in last tree seasons was in each of them ht/ft 2/1 or 1/2..

pick: Gaziantespor +1,5ah @ 1,63 pinnacle

crazy pick1: 2/1 @ 29 sportingbet

crazy pick2: 1/2 @ 90 tipico

crazy pick3: over 5,5 @ 15 bet3645

2011 Turkish sports corruption scandal

Leuven – Anderlecht

Anderlecht loose very important CL game but they have one more chance, 2nd game and coach decide to rest some players:

Badeend: value on the side of leuven. 1.58 average for Anderlecht is just so wrong. I see OHL +1 already dropped from 2.00, a pitty. Since OHL is in the jupiler league they only lost 5 games at home. The atmosphere is always great, more spectators then clubs like Lokeren, Kortrijk, Zulte … that already play in the JPL for years. Goals is another option, in all those games at home they didnt score in only 2 games and only kept the 0 once. 

Selectie van Anderlecht voor de match tegen OHL:

Bedi, Bruno, Canesin Matos, De Sutter, Deschacht, Hawsawi, Iakovenko, Jovanovic, Juhasz, Kaminski, Kanu, Kljestan, Marecek, Molins, Odoi, Praet, Roef, Safari, Wasilewski

No Biglia, Proto, Kouyaté, Mbokani and Gille

Celje – Maribor

maribor loose 2-1 vs Dinamo and will rest some players (they do that before too). Celje loose their main striker, topscorer (went to Ludogorec)

Palmeiras – Santos  dnb2

Sasntos come into good form. They had bed resaults on beggining of season (traht’s why is that position on table) but they had played lot games with reserves because of copa libertadores and after that main players was with national team on olimpics. There are some long term injuries, not important. Back are Júan, Bernardo and Gerson Magrão (Juan will start from begining).
On the other side Palmeiras in problems. They are oscilating, they was focusing on Copa Sudamericana where they relegate two days ago (Santos played also, they played Recopa Sudamericana) and they have out important standard players: Thiago Heleno, Artur, fernandinho, Marcos Assuncao, Daniel Carvalho, Marcio Araujo, Wesley, Luan and Maikon Leite

SC Braga vs SC Beira-Mar

Braga will play in Italy for few days, most important game with Udinese (1-1) and they will rest some of main players. CVoach will for sure rest Ismaily (regular defender) and  Alan Silva (important mf), even some more expected

Inverness – Celtic

Manager calls on squad for testing trip

NEIL Lennon is missing a string of first-team regulars for Saturday´s clash with Inverness Caledonian Thistle but regardless of what side he fields, he knows it will be a tough test in the Highlands.

Joe Ledley and Beram Kayal have both been ruled out following scans to their groin and ankle respectively, while Scott Brown, Georgios Samaras, Kris Commons and Thomas Rogne are all doubts. Anthony Stokes remains on the sidelines along with Daryl Murphy and Dylan McGeouch.
Continue reading missing/resting players

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Shkendija – Portadown

balisti.jpg

Shkëndija 79 is Albanian club in Macedonia. They should be favorites in this clash but maybe is suprise posible. Important players left club: tree players come in Metalurg, Nikitović (df 24/0), Alomerović (att 14/2), Peev (mf 28/8), Marko Jovanovski (first goalie, 28/0) to Ethnikos, Nafiu (1/0) to Basel Sali (1/0) to Dacia and Demiri (mf 14/0) to Teteks. They are much weaker now. Fed days ago they played friendly with Flamurtari Vlore (4th in Albania) and loose big 5-0

So, big favorites with much weaker team than usuall but they are strong at home (14-2-1). Reason is great crazy fans which are their 12th player. Ballistët is their name, they are puting down Macedonian flag, fighting with other fans, with police. They killed man last season with knife and chanpionship was blocked..

Portadown leave : McCloskey (mf 19/2) a Tipton (35/24) . Tipton very important attacker and cmon : Murray (att 33/12) a Casement (ddf 13/0)

Champions League

F91 Dudelange

That team played 30 international games where won 3, lost 24 and drew 3, too. The most important players in the squad are new signings Bruno Matias (ex-Sporting Clube de Portugal youth) and Yasine Karaca (ex-Anderlecht youth). Their coach Ralph Stange is unknown to me.
F91 Dudelange is the second most successful club in Luxembourg.

Tre Penne

There aren’t professional players in that team. Tre Penne won their first title last season, so they will debut in UEFA CL. Tre Penne scored a goal in 3 of their 4 games in previous two seasons, so this mean that these enthusiasts played an open games without any pressure on them. (2-9; 1-4 against Zrinjski Mostar and 1-3; 0-6 against FK Rad Belgrade).
Valletta FC

Well, this is the third most successful team in Malta. Their coach is an Englishman called Mark Miller (unknown to me). Their most important players are Michael Mifsud, William (34 years old Brazilian) and Denni (29 years old Brazilian). Valletta FC played almost every year in Europe in the past.

FC Lusitanos

The team is known as the Portuguese team in Andorra. There are many Portuguese players in the squad which is built by amateurs. This is a relatively new team, founded in 1999 and won its first title last year. If we see the standings during the years of its foundation, we may conclude that this is the best team of Lusitanos history. Their coach Vicente Gonzalez is totally uknown to me.

Linfield FC

There’s no need to explain what is Linfield FC for Northern Ireland’s football.
Their coach David Jeffrey is also well-known.

B36 Torshavn
This is the third most successful club in Faroe Islands. Most ot guys playing there are amateurs and their most valuable players are Jakup Borg, Suni Olsen, Klaemin Matras (captain) and Atli Danielsen. The club take part in 24 UEFA club competitions (2w-4d-18l). Their coach is Mikkjal Thomassen, a former Faroeric NT player, but without any international success as a coach, cuz he started his career recently.

CL by Valdi

Arab Cup of Nations

IFA: Iraq ready to face Morocco and deserves Arab Cup

BAGHDAD, July 2 (AKnews) – The Iraqi Footbal Association (IFA) said on Monday that the Iraqi football team is ready to face Morocco tomorrow in Saudi Arabia in the semi-finals of the Arab Cup with all its strength and that it deserves the title.

A member if the IFA Mohammed Khalil told AKnews that “The Iraqi team will play with all its stars in tomorrow’s match… the Iraqi tam reached the semi-finals and deserves to be crowned champions of the Arab Cup for its high performance in most of its matches so far”

The Iraqi team, however, will have to play without midfielder Qusay Munir who suffers from an injury from the previous match against Sudan where the two teams tied.

Iraq’s Zico has scrutinized the Moroccan team carefully and has come up with solutions for any kinds of danger that the Moroccan team might pose to the Iraqi goal, according to Khalil.

“Zico and his assistants are confident of the performance of the Iraqi footballers and are working hard on getting the team to victory in tomorrow match to get another step closer to the Cup”

The winners of the Iraq-Morocco match will face the winners of Saudi Arabia-Libya match in the finals.