By Tony Attwood
Sometimes it all goes quiet for a few weeks. Then we hear of new enquiries. The manager of Juve is banned for a year. Some Turkish clubs are being investigated. There’s suggestions that a world cup match was fixed. The bias of referees in this country is shown in our own in-depth investigation.
Then the idea that big clubs pay little clubs to win games. That seems odd, pointless, silly, until we remember the fines that the league imposes sometimes on clubs not fielding their strongest teams. Then suddenly we get it – big clubs paying little clubs to put out their strongest team and perhaps get a result, where they might not have done so with a weakened team.
Plus the evidence that certain players are targeted by others to cause injuries. And the stories that arise from Southampton about betting on key moments being a central part of the culture of the club.
And so you get to the stage where you think you’ve heard it all. And then along comes Matías Almeyda, an Argentine international who played at Parma and here we are again with a lot more about match fixing and even player doping.
The book, Almeyda: Life and Soul, which is now being serialised in Gazzettaa dello Sport, says, “At Parma we were given an IV drip before games. They said it was a mixture of vitamins but before entering the field I was able to jump up as high as the ceiling.” (If you know your Arsenal history you will know that in Leslie Knighton’s last season as Arsenal manager, the club experimented with similar sounding drugs in relation to a cup match against West Ham.)