680 Soccer Matches Are Implicated In A Massive, Intercontinental Match-Fixing Scandal

Ever think the referee is being paid to cheat your favorite team? That may have been the case.

Paolo Bruno / Getty Images

A 19-month investigation has uncovered a massive, intercontinental soccer match-fixing scandal that generated millions of dollars in betting profits. A Singaporean crime syndicate altered the course of a total of 680 matches — mostly occuring in Europe, and including World Cup qualifiers and Champions League games — by bribing match officials and players. The operation, which had been under investigation since July 2011, was the work of at least 425 people, according to The New York Times, and generated an overall betting profit of more than 8 million euros.

A complete list of the fixed matches hasn’t been released, but one stunning example of a referee fixing a match was presented — in an Under-20 match between Argentina and Bolivia in 2010, a Hungarian referee inexplicably awards Argentina a penalty to ensure an Argentine win and benefit the bettors.

This wasn’t just a scandal impacting far-flung leagues — 70 matches in Germany were named in the report, and one in England.

h/t: David Jolly at The New York Times

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