I’m totally confused by this Lyon story.
So, Lyon beat Dinamo Zagreb 7-1, as a result of which they qualify for the knock-out stages of the Champions’ League, and “the most obvious fear was that the result was part of a betting scam”.
Why? Why isn’t the obvious reward for fixing, qualification for the knock-out stages? Why would anyone think that the reward was a financial return from a bet?
If you needed to score a large number of goals to get through, why would you sidle up to someone who was miraculously able to make your 11-man opposition roll over and say, “hey… How about we also place a bet on this match so that we leave a bit of an audit trail out there that we’ve had a chat?” Wouldn’t you just say, “mate – there’s a million in it for you and the lads if you guys fold… It’s worth a lot more than that to us to get through. By the way, it’s all in used notes in this suitcase.”
As it happens, in my view the idea that the game was fixed at all is a joke. A 7-1 away win might be unusual, but if Ajax have lost out on goal difference, then they ought to look at the fact that they lost 3-nil themselves. Lyon needed an eight-goal aggregate differential to make it through, so the 7-1 win wasn’t enough. Anyone ‘fixing’ qualification would have had to involve not just Lyon’s opposition, but Ajax, who were playing a different match, and were the team which actually stood to lose out.
But what better example is there of the fact that whenever there’s a sniff of a suggestion of the possibility of corruption, the nonsensical, knee-jerk, blame-displacement, reaction is, “it’s all about betting”? Despite the extreme unlikelihood of there being any kind of fix at all, and the additional obvious point that were there to have been, the reward was the much-prized qualification, the suggestion that lingers is that there might be a betting scam behind it all; and apparently even Lyon accepts that ARJEL, the French betting regulator, needs to investigate.