OK, so today a loyal reader messaged myself and a couple other blogger/media types about this spanish language report if you use google chrome as your browser it will offer to translate it for you. When I first read the article the only thing I could think is that some people from Serta, or Select Comfort approached the Arabe Unido players and talk about potential promotional deals, and that would explain the lay down in the second half.
Nope Arabe claims that someone contacted them before the match at their hotel (the original article mentions pictures but I couldn't find any) of the "visitors" who said for $10,000 they could guarantee that Arabe Unido would not lose. OK so let's think about this for a second, who would have that kind of power?
The Officials? Well Paul Ward has never been the best official and I know MLS refs are underpaid, but would the well respected leader of the Canadian officiating crew do something like that? Would another member of his crew? No way, sorry this isn't big money and this isn't South Africa (yes I said it, in case your forgot about "the match"). This tournament isn't big enough on the gambling scene for anyone to offer up that kind of money, and no guy who works regularly for MLS and in North America is likely that desperate for 10K.
more "suspects" after the jump
Someone from CONCACAF? Who knows they seemed much more worried about where people with cameras would stand, than anything else. OR could that be the real reason they forced the cameras to switch sides before the TFC match, Rio Tinto didn't pay up their 10K to keep their branded walls of the stadium bowl on TV? Listen I have a lot of doubts about some of the people who work for CONCACAF, but they don't control enough of the match to offer that type of deal to one side or the other.
Someone from RSL? Yeah right, I have heard that many people out there are underpaid, but again who could offer such a promise? Hard for a single player to toss a match, we all knew RSL was going to play to win in CCL, so there is no way that they would risk the big paydays as an organization that could come with advancing in this tournament. Sorry just don't buy it.
Someone else? Well we all know that there are these Art Students who wonder around selling worthless art to unsuspecting people for lots of money, then again SLC is the home of MLM's (multi level marketing companies), who knows maybe some unknown blogger/ wanna be photographer has his eye on some new gear (oh nevermind that one). I have to say that in my opinion it would almost have to be someone thinking that the visitors from Panama would be gullible enough to buy such a deal, hint staying at a cheaper hotel should have been a sign, tried to pull some type of scam on them.
I can't wait to see the pictures, or hear what they find out. I have a feeling this one probably did happen, but I get the feeling that it has scam written all over it. Who would profit by such a deal? Come on do any of you know what the line was on that match?
Trey said it best in the sltrib.com piece on this:
"Obviously, we had nothing to do with it," RSL spokesman Trey Fitz-Gerald said.
This is the type of stuff that happens at the highest level of the game for real, one only needs to look to some matches in South Africa (are the French really that bad?), or Italy a few years ago to know that corruption is real in soccer and when you play at higher levels of international matches it becomes more real. From ticket scams and rackets, to online betting, to just straight forward cheating, RSL will need to step up its game as it continues to play in higher profile and bigger reward matches.
OFF MY SOAPBOX