One of the most dominating topcis of Play the Game 2013 in Aarhus, Denmark, have been match-fixing.
And thanks to the former Croatian Football player Mario Cizmek, the participants have been able to get an insider’s view on why some professional football players decide to enter the world of match-fixing.
Mario Cizmek did. In this exclusive and unedited video-interview, he tells his full story.
The story of Vurlon Mills is not unique. The footballer from Guyana was approached by an agent from Europe named Navarro Aparicio José who offered him a trail in the the English football club, Bristol City.
All he had to do, was to transfer £500 to a German adress via Western Union to cover travel expenses.
That is roughly three months of salary, but Vulron persuaded his uncle to make the payment, because the Agent was licensed by FIFA
Send more money
Shortly after the payment was made, the agent asked for more money. When Vurlon Mills asked to cancel the deal and get his uncle’s money back, the agent disappeared.
And reclaiming his money proved impossible. The agent who approached him on Facebook used the licensed agent´s identity, but the money was not possible to trace, because they were transferred via Western Union.
Bristol City had not been in contact with any agent regarding Vurlon Mills, but their spokesman said, that they were often contacted by players, who had received false letters form the club.
No one cares
The English journalist, Steve Menary, has contacted the football associations of England, Italy and Spain, to get a comment about this matter. No one responded.
He also contacted some of the real agents, whose identities were used in the scam. No one responded.
In the meanwhile the number of agents with no contact information on the FIFA website continues to increase, making it even easier for the kingpins to have a successful scam.
A recent report from the EU shows that there is a strong link between personal finances, education and family situation when it comes to participating in sports.
64 % of people who left the education-system after primary school at the age of 15 say they never play any sports. This is divided between 39 % in the 16-19 age group and 24 % in the +20 age group.
As higher levels of education are linked with better standards of living, the data suggests that more highly educated EU citizens equate physical fitness with quality of life.
Bigger families, more sport
Another interesting factor is the number of people in households, because it provides greater opportunity for playing sport. 47 % of people who live alone do no participate in sports, whereas the result in a household of four or more is only 32 %.
EU-citizens who struggle to pay the bills lso struggle with sports. 56 % of people who have a hard time paying their bills don’t do sports, whereas the result is 35 % in the groups who are well off financially.
A cost benefit anlalysis is needed
According to researcher Karen Petry from German Sport University Cologne we need to engage the groups who are less well off educationally and financially in sports.
“Sport can help keep people out of crime, and get you into education. We really need a cost benefit analysis of sports programs, to see what the overall benefit to society is really is.”
Sports is the key to maintain a healthy population, now and in the future.
But according to Margaret Talbot from the International Council of Sports Science and Physical Education, very little attention and money is spent on sports in the nations of the world compared to other major expenditures such as education.
It has been predicted that inactivity causes an estimated of 300,000 deaths each year in America alone, and in the UK one in five men, and one in eight women, die prematurely from coronary heart disease.
Millions of diabetics in India
In nations with large populations these numbers are swelling, e.g. India, where the numbers of diabetics increase incrementally every year.
Today India is home to a staggering 62 million diabetics.
In China one in four adults is pre-diabetic or diabetic, which will be an enormous strain on the medical infrastructure in the future.
Nordic countries is taking the lead
The Nordic countries are among the most physically active countries in the EU, whereas the Southeastern countries are in the far other end of the scale.
In Sweden, 72 percent of the population is exercising regularly, meaning once a week or more.
The Finnish people are in a close second with the Danes in third place.
Scandinavia versus EU
In comparison Bulgaria, Greece and Italy have the fewest citizens being physically active on a regular basis with, a mere 3 percent, according to a study from the European Commission on sport and physical activity in the EU from 2010.
In total the majority of the EU citizens get some physical exercise at least once a week with 65 percent in all of the EU.
Not too surprisingly young men and women in the age group 15-24 are the most active of the EU-citizens, with young men tending to exercise considerably more than young woman.
“We were blue-eyed, when the scandal hit us in 2005,” an honest Petri Heikkinen, who worked for the Finnish Football Federation for almost 10 years, said.
From 2005 and 2011, Finnish football was severely hit by match-fixing. AC Allianssii, a now disolved club, were struggling financially in 2005. The club was overtaken by Zheyun Ye, who already had been fixing matches in Belgium.
Ye brought in his own manager and a team mostly consisting of Belgian players. They lost 8-0 to FC Haka, and then it all began.
Nobody knew how to handle the Match-Fixing scandal
Ye and others involved were never charged. Lack of knowledge is to blame.
“The police didn’t know how to handle this. The exchange of information with Belgium failed. It died out,” Heikkinen said.
Belgian authorities have also been criticised heavily for their part in the investigation.
“I can’t say it won’t happen again”
Since 2005 Finnish football has been hit by four major match-fixing scandals. Mostly clubs with financial trouble, Tampere, AC Alianssi and RoPa, have been targeted.
“We probably didn’t do enough,” Heikkinen said. “ We had to learn about the background of match-fixing. We know much more about it now.”
“I can’t say it won’t happen again. It’s happening all over the world. It will probably happen again or maybe it’s even happening at the moment.”