The beautiful game turned ugly recently as reports surfaced that Europol, the law enforcement team for the EU, had discovered a huge crime syndicate thought to be responsible for match-fixing in nearly 700 European football games. Can you imagine the gambling insights that people had with 700 games! Onlien gambling companies like M88 Indonesia and Sbobet will have lost millions in revenue!

The director of Europol said they believed they had uncovered ‘an extensive criminal network’ through which match officials, club officials and players had been offered bribes upwards of £80,000 to fix the outcome of 360 games in Europe and 300 games in the Americas, Africa and Asia.

While no individual games or clubs have been officially named, the investigative team say matches in the Champions League, European Championships and even the World Cup have been involved.

Believed to be based in Singapore, the syndicate responsible for the match-fixing is thought to have made more than £6.9 million from the conspiracy, with payments of over £100,000 made to individual gamblers who received inside information then placed bets on Asian gambling sites.

The allegations have rocked the global soccer community with arrests taking place everywhere from England to Malaysia and police investigations commencing in more than 60 different countries. The NCA — the National Crime Agency — has arrested at least six people, including three footballers, while two English footballers have been charged with match-fixing in Australia. An investigation by one newspaper also provided video evidence of one fixer offering to take £50,000 to determine the outcome of several English matches as well as bragging that he was able to influence Australian, Scottish, Irish and World Cup qualifying games.

This is not the first time that Asian syndicates have cashed in on match-fixing. One former FIFA official believes that obscurity of Asian gambling houses has led to their becoming corrupted by organised crime and has called for Asia’s largest gambling houses IBCBET, SBOBET and 188BET to undergo stricter regulation by governments.

If such transparency measurements are not put in place, he claims, it will remain easy for crime networks to take advantage of unregulated gambling.

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