In what has been a tough week for all sport in Australia, particularly the football codes, the A-League needs to try to maintain its integrity. A-League teams and players aren’t in the firing line when it comes to doping, but they certainly are when it comes to match fixing.
With one A-League game already suspected for match fixing after a $49million bet was placed on the round 10 clash between Adelaide and Melbourne Victory by someone in Hong Kong, and with many other Football matches around the world being investigated, it is something our A-League does not need. Adelaide won that round 10 game 4-2 with plenty of yellow’s throughout the game. However there are no examples of where the players or referees tried to fix the match. The bet just looks like an abnormality.
Now fast track to this round and last nights fixture between the two teams. It was a tight tussle the whole game, with Reds looking to be on top. Victory didn’t play their best and conceded a goal. 1-0 down at half time, there was still a chance for them to make a comeback.
The second half proved to be an even tighter contest, with Victory looking stronger as the game went on. Just when we all thought they might have a chance of equalizing, Traore picks up a straight red, for a challenge that could barely be deemed a yellow. This incident has sparked controversy with calls for the referee to be sacked. If you watch the video, you’ll see what everyone means.
But what we really need to hope for, is that no one placed a big bet on that game last night.
If it comes out that there was, and that game gets investigated for match fixing, all the Australian media will forget about the huge doping problems throughout the NRL and AFL and focus on the match fixing in “Sokkah”. This is something we don’t need as a sport. If our sport can maintain its integrity throughout this tough and dark time in Australian sport, we might just be able to come out on top.
We need to finish the season on a high note. We can’t afford anything to damage the sport, and give the media something to try to turn the attention of the Australian public to. If our sport has anything against it, it will be used as the escape goat in the media.
So far the focus is still on the other codes, but limited information has been released. Once teams, players, coaches and staff that are under investigation come out, it will drive fans away. The whole sports will be affected, with the NRL and AFL looking most affected at this stage. Hopefully our sport isn’t involved in all of this, and it doesn’t seem that it is (apart from that one betting abnormality) at the moment. If the A-League can make it through this unscathed, it could be one of the sports people turn to.
After such a positive season so far, with record crowds being achieved and the most interest the sport has ever seen in this country, football could be about to become even bigger. Now I know it isn’t the way that many would have hoped. Many would have loved to have seen our sport just grow without the problems of others (myself included), but lets take the opportunities presented to us and use them wisely.
Let’s finish this season without a problem. Let’s get our attendance rates up a bit more. Let’s have a close and interesting finals, with sellout crowds. And let’s show the country that “We Are Football”!
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