Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Whistleblow While You Work


April Fools' Lulz...

... so long, and thanks for all the fish.

© Football is Fixed 2006-2015

Follow us on Twitter @FootballisFixed

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

If


If referees in the Premier League earn a couple of grand per week while officiating on matches with global betting volumes of £5 billion,
If referees for all Premier League games are selected by just one individual;
If referees work with agents to promote the agents' clients on the field of play,
If referees are at the root of most matchfixing crises:


If bookmakers accept insider trading merely treating it as competitive advantage in the marketplace,
If bookmakers trade such knowledge at dark pool poker tables of corruption;
If bookmakers own football clubs and, on occasions, coerce players to perform appropriately,
If bookmakers create spot markets to corrupt the minutiae of in-play actions:

If agents are non-regulated and are the primary lubrication of criminalities in the sport,
If agents work together in a fragmented cartel to pool ownership of players to solicit matchfixing;
If agents are engaging in third party ownership and the trafficking of children from developing countries,
If agents pay backhanders to managers to pick certain players for mutual benefit:

If institutional bodies decide on winners and losers according to private agendas of power and marketing,
If institutional bodies incorporate systemic corruptions at top levels of the game;
If institutional bodies established to monitor insider trading and matchfixing are infrastructurally compromised,
If there are no global, EU or governmental actions to confront these corruptions:

If clubs, owners, managers, referees, agents, administrators and players bet on the outcomes of games,
If clubs exert power over lesser clubs in the same leagues with agreed outcomes being the norm;
If clubs focus more on unearthing lucrative marketing deals than on winning trophies,
If clubs built on debt can only survive by matchfixing their games:

If coercion, threats, menaces, violence and murders are the primary modes of controlling non-acquiescent individuals,
If transnational organised crime and global mafiosi are actively involved at all levels of corruption;
If suitcases of cash and offshore illicit money flows are the norm in financial transactions,
If there are administrators who facilitate these corruptions based on laissez faire capitalism:

If the Fit-and-Proper-Person Test results in clubs being owned by entirely unfit and entirely improper individuals,
If owners take over clubs to asset strip and to monetise the debris via inversion capitalism;
If money laundering, fraud, utilisation of offshore financial centres and beneficial ownership is the norm,
If clubs are held offshore for tax and/or regulatory avoidance to the benefit of the owners:

If spurious and fake arguments are repeatedly made against the use of video technology in the sport,
If there are no laws against insider trading and no Commitment of Traders' reports;
If there is widespread use of performance enhancing substances and their related masking agents,
If the market capitalisation of major clubs is dwarfed by global betting turnover on any of their matches:

If fans and the public are kept in the dark about all these machinations due to a blackout by the mainstream media,
If there is nowhere for whistleblowers to go with information about corruptions;
If the reward for being a criminalised player is a lifelong role as a media analyst or commentator,
If huge fortunes are being made while meritocracy is always trumped by the performativity of corrupt practices:

Then FOOTBALL IS FIXED as is everything within it,
And - what is more - there are very few men of integrity, my son.

© Football is Fixed 2006-2015

Follow us on Twitter @FootballisFixed

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Matchfixing Analytics




Jean Baudrillard on the transeconomics of speculation: "A game and nothing but a game, with floating and arbitrary rules: a game of catastrophe."

Sports Analytics took off in 2014 with numerous entities being established or consolidated...
... unfortunately, none of these bodies are looking at the key data.
Consequently, they offer no information-alpha but merely self-fulfilling mechanisms in a shared non-differentiated idiocy of mission.

This is about to change with the launch of a new business of which we are a part. 
Matchfixing Analytics will address corruption and matchfixing in football utilising bespoke analytics and forensics together with enhanced modelling and unique holistics.

All markets are functions of economic and psychological mechanisms but this formal construct is entirely delegitimised by the corrosive roles of corruption and insider trading, particularly in lightly regulated sectors like football.
The resultant hologram of hyperreality is pure Neo-Bayesian with chaotic statistical disorder.


Matchfixing Analytics will offer clients a robust edge in the corrupted marketplace of global football as clients want new insights, holistic modelling and clever data (not Big Data).
___________________________________________________________________________________


Jean Baudrillard: "The revolution of our time is the uncertainty revolution. We are not ready to accept this. Paradoxically, however, we attempt to escape from uncertainty by relying even more on information and communication systems, so merely aggravating the uncertainty itself."

Big Data is the big buzz but only performs in two areas in relation to markets and integrity - High Frequency Trading (HFT) where swift analysis yields arbitrage edge and surveillance/ sousveillance/ hacking where one wants maximal information to mine.
Aside from these areas, Big Data is Big Noise.

The first intrusion of Big Data into sport came with Billy Beane III and his use of sabermetrics in the valuation of baseball players. Unfortunately, sabermetrics in this basic form only applies to sports that are able to be broken down into discrete time segments eg cricket, NFL and baseball but fails miserably when utilised in games with interactive flow like football or in sports that are corrupt.
Unfortunately, this lesson is yet to be learnt and Arsenal paid £2.165m for US-based StatDNA while Manchester City established MCFC Analytics, both of which collect massive (and largely irrelevant) data which attempt to quantify the flux of football while ignoring the considerable inputs that undermine the match outcome and the integrity of the sport (although it should be stated that the Arsenal operation is markedly more professional than the Mancunian one!).
Roy Hodgson's England also utilised amateurish analytics prior to producing the nation's worst ever World Cup performance and only group stage exit in Brazil 2014.
Matchfixing Analytics will incorporate corruption forensics into match analytic processes protecting clubs against inproprietaries taken against their interests.

Matchfixing has reached a stage of development where there are frequently two or more insider attempts at manipulating the outcome of a match. The hyperreality might only become clear once the match is in progress. It is of consequence to participants and all associated with the event for the state of real-time corruptions to be assessed via analyses of the actions and psychologies of potentially corrupt officials and players and the related impacts on the markets of the criminalities at play.
Matchfixing Analytics will address such inputs at speed to benefit of clubs (as well as the efficiency of the markets).

A parallel might be drawn with the likes of Sportradar, a company that claims to provide syndicated sports content, betting related data and fraud detection.
In reality, Sportradar share macro data around market makers (and tipsters) that offers no competitive edge due to its generality and lack of specificity. Everybody is plugging the same data into the same software, thinking they are creating unique insight when, in fact, off-the-shelf solutions are self-fulfilling and simply reinforce the mechanisms at play.
Matchfixing Analytics will operate 3 layers deeper than competitors in market information, access, evaluation and the detection of market abuses and matchfixing.

We will ensure scarcity in our selection of partners by restricting ourselves to only two concurrent contracts.
We are already involved with The Offshore Game, a Tax Justice Network project targeting illicit money flows and tax evasion in football, that will be launched shortly.
Club ownership structures, abuses of the transfer markets and matchfixing all share a culmination of corruption that resides in Offshore Financial Centres (OFCs).
Matchfixing Analytics will create economic models of money flows between matchfixing operations, market makers, dark pools and the OFCs where the monies are laundered.

The vast majority of institutional bodies in world football have their own private and hidden agendas. Frequently, such agendas impact upon the integrity of the game.
Institutional corruption analyses are critical for clubs to punch above their weight and for miscreants to be outed.
Matchfixing Analytics will transform the perceptions of corruptions of power lobbies at FIFA, UEFA, national associations and leagues, the betting monitoring bodies, IFAB and bodies representing match officials.

As football has morphed into a first tier global market with regard to the sheer volume traded, it has become increasingly necessary for all interested parties to be aware of the implications of the market structure.
We model market holistics.
Matchfixing Analytics will incorporate intermarket analyses, global market alliances, dark pool and underground market activities, proxy trading, the inputs of criminalised enterprises and syndicates, strategies to disguise volume and instantaneous global information flow into a holographic whole of market transparency.

Iain Martin of the Financial Times has promoted Peter Moores' Law with regard to Big Data (named after the hapless England cricket coach). This law states: "If you collect enough information about what is happening then everything might somehow be alright."
Application of Big Data by England in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 resulted in dire performances and a defeat to Bangladesh that ensured elimination at the group stage.
Big Data could not highlight malicious input from rogue individuals.

Big Data also played a nefarious role in the 2007/08 Great Recession.
"Awash with data, Value at Risk metrics and toxic products stamped with comforting ratings, most [executives] did not see the large iceberg ahead. But what is curious is that, after this disaster, the Big Data ship simply steamed ahead unimpeded."
Matchfixing Analytics will extract the key information from Big Data and transform the risk strategies of clients.
___________________________________________________________________________________

Big Data (like statistics and mathematics) are only valid in restricted areas of marketplaces which are dominated by corruption. Such corruption might be modelled similarly to cosmological research - we have expanding universes of corruption in a multiversal whole, where quantum leaps in reality occur undermining any mathematical or economic robustness; a state of evolutionary flux.

Key Data not Big Data is the Core to Real-Time Modelling of Matchfixing, Markets and Corruption.

Thomas Piketty: "The discipline of economics has yet to get over its childish passion for mathematics... income, capital, economic growth rate, the rate of return on capital are abstract concepts and are theoretical constructs rather than mathematical certainties."

Matchfixing Analytics will be launched in April.
If you wish to avoid the avenue of apprehension or the doorway to disaster then you would be wise to consider a consultancy of anti-corruption and transparency.

© Football is Fixed 2006-2015

Follow us on Twitter @FootballisFixed  

Sunday, 1 March 2015

The IFAB Four


"In effect, the English Premier League and the Scottish Premier League, via their respective control of the Football Association and the Scottish FA, are able to block all and any changes to the Laws of the Game with the support of just one other IFAB member." 

Yesterday, nicely buried away on a busy sporting Saturday, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) ruled out video technology in football until season 2018/19 at the earliest.
This is despite a very successful trial run by the Dutch FA (KNVB) at 24 Eredivisie matches last season and the support of Germany, the USA and certain elements at the FA in England.

The outcome simply means that we are guaranteed 3 and a half more years of rampant corruption without redress or regulation and we will argue that this decision is the death knell for the integrity (and success) of the game.
___________________________________________________________________________________

IFAB

IFAB is an anachronism. Composed of 4 members from the FA's of England, Scotland, the North of Ireland and Wales plus a further four individuals selected from the other 205 associations, the body behaves like an old City of London club. To discuss and decide upon proposed alterations to the Laws of the Game requires 75% agreement which, in effect, means that the United Kingdom controls the rules of global football.
Furthermore, since 2003, Angel Maria Villar Llona, the Spanish FIFA vice-President and Chairman of the Referees' Committee, has been involved in IFAB meetings. It is surely of relevance to the whole discussion that Javier Tebas, the Spanish La Liga president, believes that some bodies wish to hide the reality of matchfixing. Speaking last October, Tebas said: "... there are also some important institutions that want to hide the problem. Our integrity department in La Liga, for example, last weekend detected match-fixing activity in the third division. We detected the problem and communicated it to the responsible authority, but they chose to hide it, probably because they don't want to recognise that this problem exists, even in the lower division."

It is surely worthy of note that certain representatives (or a majority thereof) can block any change at any time to any private agenda.

Dutch Experiment and Institutional Response

The Dutch trial involved a video referee addressing match decisions at 24 top flight games in 2013/14. The results were hugely encouraging resulting in gross chameleon Sepp Blatter changing his mind to be in favour of video technology on the eve of the 2014 World Cup Finals.
A colleague in Holland has stated that the referral system could be implemented within 15 seconds and would have removed all controversy from the matches trialled. The match outcome was real.
Other sports also successfully implement video technology without the fabric of the competitive event being blown apart - tennis, rugby league, rugby union, horseracing, athletics, cricket etc.
So why not football?
Which members of IFAB voted against the proposal?
Who stands to lose and gain from the delay?

Well, this last question is a suitable starting point.
The entities that gain from lack of video technology are, in no particular order of merit - UEFA, FIFA, the Premier League, corrupt referees, corrupt bookmakers, insider gamblers, underground criminalised betting markets, global mafiosi groups, corrupt football agents, dodgy committee men...
... while the losers are the fans, the integrity of the game, those within the sport outside the corrupt inner loops and, interestingly, the broadcasters who overpay for tv rights (see below).

UEFA president, Michel Platini, performed a U-turn on video technology due to the European body utilising grey corruption via match officials to offset the criminalities of matchfixing operations targeting UEFA events, the power base of the allegedly disbanded G14 group, the successful marketing of tournament spectacles and the critical nature of television money.
The latter two points also apply to FIFA although the inaction at the global body is more closely linked to the interests of those involved in matchfixing.

The Specifics of the Integrity Issue in English Premier League

The Premier League (EPL) and Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOB) do not want video technology in English football. Furthermore, they do not support the elements of the FA that are calling for the implementation.The EPL have been undermining the role of the national association since inception and reached a nadir when buffoon Sir Dave Richards performed as Scudamore's rottweiler destabiliser at the FA.

PGMOB referees earn around two grand a week for officiating on matches that can have global betting turnover of £5bn. The core group of PGMOB comprises just 15 individuals who officiate at nearly 95% of EPL matches (including all the high betting volume tv events) and are frequently present as 4th officials at other games. This structure is primed for corruption.
Additionally, one individual who hides in the shadows selects referees for all EPL games. One man!

Former leading refs Graham Poll and Keith Hackett have lacerated the current standard of PGMOB refs with the latter wanting Mike Riley removed from leadership of body and 5 officials stood down.
Hackett stated: "If [a manager] is at the bottom of the league then his job is at risk. At this moment in time he [Riley] is more than bottom. I am seeing a regression. The performances of the referees are not acceptable. He must carry the responsibility."

And the reaction to criticism of referees is Stalinist. Most managers (with honourable exceptions of Jose Mourinho and Steve Bruce) have learnt that it is preferable not to articulate concerns over refereeing integrity as the body politic merely dumps more negative controversy on managers who step out of the Stalin line.
Chelsea would have won the EPL last season if it had not been for the ludicrous spectacles at Villa Park and at home to Sunderland. The abuses have continued on into 2014/15 with even the most anti-Mourinho clone perceiving the injustices perpetrated against the London team.

The Stalinism continues with media silence, no interviews, hush money paid at end of referee's careers, no public ratings from internal assessments and generally no punishment for miscreants.
Additionally, since the beginning of season 2013/14, all match officials have been miked up to a secretive network which we will term the EPL Match Centre. All kick offs are coincident and referees are aided (or abetted) by other officials with access to tv replays. This results in numerous match decisions being delayed while a decision is made.

Three points.
Firstly, this is illegal under the Laws of the Game.
Secondly, to what template are the decisions being made if made under such secrecy?
Thirdly, the outcome is disastrous for the brand. The EPL is descending into fraudulent farce.

In a desperate attempt to keep fans on message, the mainstream media entirely ignores matchfixing in England despite journalists getting some of their leaks/stories from individuals who are orchestrating the matchfixing.
The tv pundits are worse!
Lee Dixon, Mark Lawrensen and Robbie Savage work for bookmakers, Danny Murphy is close to a matchfixing agent, Michael Owen used to be bookie for the England team (linked to Goldchip private bookmakers), Steve McManaman was a business associate of money laundering fraudster Carson Yeung and David James is, well, David James.

Impact of IFAB Decision on EPL Broadcasting Deals

The EPL tv deal for 2016/19 realised £5.1bn for British rights but as lawyer Daniel Geey points out the global broadcasting rights could be worth another £8bn.

These figures represent a financial market bubble - Sky is paying £11m per match in this window.
The price is being ratcheted up via the antisocial auction strategies of Sky Sports and BT Sports as they outbid one another to mutual oblivion. The inevitable increase in subscription prices will undermine the business model - in a 4 week window in January, BT Sport offered just one EPL game (Hull v Newcastle). This is absolutely not value for money particularly in a time of austerity.

Bubbles are dangerous when they form in an instant - so Manchester United received less (£60.8m) for winning EPL in 2012/13 than Cardiff City got for being relegated the following season (£62.1m).
Bubbles are even more dangerous when future rights' issues are being bid on the back of an already inflated bubble - a double bubble means double trouble.

As the performance of EPL teams in Champions League and Europa League shows, the bloated brand is bigger than the fundamental value by some marked distance.

Furthermore, the matchfixing in the EPL is the elephant in the room. When we speak to managers, chief execs, agents, administrators, the discussion always centres around matchfixing. The reality is bound to break at some point and then the value of the brand plummets as the IPL cricket monstrosity discovered.
And this is before one even considers the impact of the eventual European Super League for the G14+.

Conclusion

Who voted against video technology at IFAB meeting?
Why?

An interesting impact of the Dutch experiment last season was that the volatility of outcome would have diminished markedly if the video ref had been able to overrule the match referee. Think about that. The price set by the global marketplace on a game is more accurate once integrity is reintroduced via taking power away from the referee. We are preparing a research paper on this point as it is significant.

Meanwhile Jérôme Valcke, FIFA's secretary general, blurts "Is there a risk the referee will not be as strong as he is today?"

You know what, mate, nobody cares about a referee's sense of personal power.
What we demand is integrity in the sport we love.

© Football is Fixed 2006-2015

Follow us on Twitter @FootballisFixed

Friday, 27 February 2015

The Offshore Game


One of the more startling developments in recent years has been the takeover of football clubs by owners who would not, on the surface, have any interests in the sport.

We are not specifically concerned here with private equity companies, bookmakers and offshore beneficial ownership schemes but rather with ownership emanating from specific industry sectors e.g. the oil industry.

We are also interested in the territorial, business and black market cooperations between these new breed of owners and a global network of competing criminal enterprises, gangs and syndicates.

Recently, an oil company chief executive with links to the underground betting markets has been assessing the purchase of a leading Premier League club. As the oil price has plummeted, this CEO (wearing his oilman's hat) seeks oil market sector consolidation. But the gambling side of this future operation is entirely unaffected by the current market conditions for oil. The two sectors are not correlated in any manner whatsoever.

This is a primary reason why numerous mainstream sectors seek out football club ownership - global financial returns move in lockstep holistically but football leagues are something else entirely.
A secondary reason for the ties being established is that football matches are linked to very liquid global betting markets that are hyperreal in their structure i.e. insiders and matchfixing consortia are able to fix match outcomes to warp the global markets for significant proprietary gain.
The third reason for the takeover of football clubs is inversion capitalism and the financialisation of what were community-based football clubs into entities to promote efficient yet illicit flows of monies via Offshore Financial Centres (OFCs).
The fourth reason for the presence of oil companies is diversification. If Peak Oil is real then oil companies must think outside the box regarding future flows and profits.
The fifth advantage for oil companies is creative hedging of risk - many football markets share parallels with futures and options markets and strategies may easily be transferred. Additionally, the very liquid global betting markets are voluminous enough to accommodate the hedging of mature sector entities.

When clubs as diverse as Hartlepool United, Hamilton Accies and AFC Bournemouth are owned by or sponsored by oil executives/companies, there is evidently a pattern to be found in the data.

The oil industry is conversant with many of the infrastructures that have developed around the football industry in the last two decades - monopolies, cartels, fragmented cartels, black market operations etc.
The leap from price-fixing to matchfixing is but a small bound - once one has sold out to antisocial speculation, the move to abusive market control is always likely to be more tempting.

Additionally, the modes of powerplay and market abuses associated with a competitive oil market price established by a fragmented cartel are very similar structurally to the setting of market prices in football matches where global underground and Dark Pool operations establish the prices on offer based on key parameters that are absolutely not in the public eye (or interest).

Historically, as market sectors aged, they matured towards monopolistic/duopolistic/fragmented cartel structures e.g. the Big 4 accountancy firms but inversion capital is leading to a wider consolidation not only within a sector but also between loosely associated sectors. The integration and dovetailing of these operations is accommodated by the similarity in structure and form.

There is an absolute parallel between strategies in mature oil sector and in the maturing football sector.

Over the last quarter century (and even longer in South Asia), numerous global underground groups have exerted malicious control over the integrity of sporting events.

The Dawood Company (cricket matchfixing globally from their base in Dubai) and football operations like Sun Yee On (China), Ah Kong (Singapore), Luen Group (Hong Kong), Ghao Pho (Thailand) and Kuratong Baleleng (Philippines) have incorporated gambling operations into criminalised entities of far greater stature. The full range of illegalities (murder, smuggling, bribery, corruption, drug trafficking, extortion, film finance, gunrunning, contract killing, money laundering, counterfeiting and even terrorism in certain cases) run alongside allegedly legitimate businesses like real estate and bank overhaul transactions.

These underground operations have since morphed into real betting businesses located in selected OFCs with structures that are entirely akin to the Dark Pool/Public Markets model that exists in more legitimate bookmaking operations.
The consolidation then continues with linkages developed between the public entities of variable background (for instance the one between Victor Chandler International in Gibraltar and Thai bookmaker 138.com - Chandler were the first European bookie to enter Thailand in the mid-nineties under control of current Brighton and Hove Albion owner, Tony Bloom).

The complete graphic dynamic of the consolidated sector is highly complex.

a) Asian bookmakers matchfixing in both underground and legitimate markets and hiding their illicit gains via proxy OFCs globally (Chinese bookies utilise British Virgin Isles, for example).
b) European bookmakers matchfixing in both Dark Pool and legitimate markets and utilising a different set of OFCs for money laundering.
c) Club ownership structures that avoid tax via the utilisation of a variety of complex ownership arrangements in OFCs globally.
d) Football agents behave in exactly the same manner as above but choose OFCs that are suitable both culturally and financially.

Agents, as lubricants to all phases of the corruption process, provide us with another aspect of the solution.

Corrupt infrastructures are similar to water flowing down a hill. Given the various obstacles in place, there is always a preferred route for the liquid to flow. Over time, these chosen routes become river beds and exceptional circumstances (meteorological or geological) are needed to upset this status quo.

And so it is with corruption in football.

Whether football is being corrupted by matchfixing, illegitimate ownership structures or criminalised agents, the one feature that exists in each case is illicit money flows in OFCs.

The Offshore Game is a project under the auspices of the Tax Justice Network which will be launched in the near future to address these issues.
All illicit money flow participants have a preferred route of laundering and will persist with such proxy flows for a range of robust reasons.
The Offshore Game, if successful, will make incremental gains against these corruption flows making it markedly more difficult for the launderers to wash their money easily.
The Offshore Game will also improve the integrity of football by putting the matchfixers and rogue owners on the defensive.

And, although football can never be football again, it will hopefully become more than the illegitimate love child of horseracing and poker that it has become.

You can sign up to The Offshore Game at https://www.theoffshoregame.net/

© Football is Fixed 2006-2015

Follow us on Twitter @FootballisFixed 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Pitchsiding


There are two core inputs to the trading process - market price and market timing.
Knowledge of the former represents the 'value' on offer - the difference in price between the market and reality - while knowledge of the latter fine tunes the process for maximisation of profits.

But the latter also offers a route to proprietary profits based not on skill but on one's position in the marketplace,

In 1929, financial market traders were dependent on the ticker-tape.
In a pre-IT world, all trades were manually recorded by armies of under-privileged people.
There was no other option.

Once the operators at the top of the Ponzi scheme decided that the fake price summit had been reached, they sold across the board and extensively.
When this Crash occurred, the ticker-tape operators were unable to keep up with the tsunami of "sell" orders.
Consequently, the ticker-tape started to fall behind time.

But the ticker-tape meant that the reality was lost on the general trading population until it was too late.
Traders (and normal human beings too) were selling stock without being able to gauge the price at which they were selling their assets, as the prices were out-of-date and everybody understood that there was a run on.

This was a very early example of pitchsiding in the financial sector - insiders gaining (or losing less) at the expense of the bewildered and the befuddled who were outside the loop.

Move forward to 2015 and the same market advantage is built into modern day financial market architecture via the utilisation of High Frequency Trading (HFT) algorithms, Dark Pool operations and selective arbitrage trading.

Inevitably, these distortions of time entered the world of sport once markets were attached to events - it is termed 'pitchsiding' or 'courtsiding'.

The first occasion that I witnessed pitchsiding was at British racecourses in the 1990's.
Operatives would park up a vehicle outside the racecourse with line-of-sight link to the bookmakers trading on the rails and utilise bullet microphones to listen into these primary tier bookies. Once insider money surfaced, the operatives took advantage of the information (and the available price) to trade the inside information at a timing advantage to the remainder of the market.

These behaviours also have their origins in the Depression when illegal street bookies would offer prices on races that had already been run!

Pitchsiding spread to other sports once global markets were developed on sporting events.
There is an inevitable time delay on images being flashed around the world.
Other communication routes are instant.

So in football, there can be a 10 second delay between the action taking place on the pitch and the HDTV images hitting your screen. A lot can happen in ten seconds!

Pitchsiding is particularly profitable and far easier to facilitate when the geographical distances are greater with the result that the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 was always a prime target for the pitchsiders.
Hence, some good news for once.
As this report from New Zealand shows, there is a momentum within the ICC to eradicate sports corruption and the pitchsiders present at the opening World Cup match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka were removed from the ground (http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/cricket/66201423/betting-cheats-caught-at-cricket-world-cup-match).

In reality, pitchsiding might be seen as a form of virtual time travel...
... but imagine going back in time to place £25m in the Asian underground on a draw between PSG and Chelsea last evening (http://wheresthatfuckinhemlock.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/is-time-travel-logically-possible.html).

Pitchsiding is a criminal offence in parts of Australia and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Unfortunately, in the world of football, pitchsiding is merely seen as another competitive advantage for the bookmakers like insider trading and access to Dark Pools.
And, of course, no action is taken.
Market distortions to the benefit of a financial elite are never a problem. 

© Football is Fixed 2006-2015

Follow us on Twitter @FootballisFixed 

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Mafia, Matchfixing, Money Laundering - The Beautiful Game

We were recently in discussions with a soon-to-be-launched body that will focus on illicit money flows and money laundering in relation to the football industry.
Such tax avoidance and evasion covers the betting markets, the transfer markets as well as non-fit and non-proper club ownership structures.

Our part in this project related to the betting markets.

So, as a piece of research, we decided to list all of the global betting territories and to link these locations with both club ownership loci and offshore financial centres (particularly looking at preferred routes of corruption).

With the mainstream media suddenly deciding to conclude that the vast majority of global banks are involved in tax avoidance via illicit money flows in a systemic failure of late capitalism, the time is ripe for addressing parallel tax issues in football.

From the shenanigans at the late Glasgow Rangers (who went into administration three years ago today - Happy Administration Day!) to the Leicester City manager, Nigel Pearson, poking Leicester City 'legend' Gary Lineker regarding his tax affairs to the 'mistake' by the HMRC which led to improperly prepared paperwork allowing Harry Redknapp off tax evasion charges, the zeitgeist of public perception of football corruption is changing.

The interesting aspect of the research undertaken is the robust linkage between club ownership locations, offshore financial centres, offshore bookmaking locations and a transglobal map of primary mafiosi locations.
The interplay between these four power loci is fascinating and very revealing.

Take AC Parma.
Having fallen from historical heights due to the Parmalat Scandal, the club were serially mismanaged under stewardship of Tommaso Ghirardi and director general Pietro Leonardi resulting in the takeover in 2014 by an Albanian businessmen - Rezart Taçi (CEO of Taçi Oil) fronting for a Cypriot-Russian group.

Under Ghirardi's watch, the Italian club had been thrown out of this year's UEFA Cup after having been found guilty of paying players at other clubs to perform appropriately.

There has been an array of very vivid matchfixing events at the club throughout this season culminating in the farcical fix between Parma and Chievo on Wednesday last.
And the money traded on these events surfaces in some rather interesting locations far from Italy - Gibraltar, Thailand, Russia, Philippines and Malta.

In December 2014, the club were docked a point for non-payment of wages and with the club about to be punished again for further non-payment, Taçi was discarded and the club brought in Ermir Kodra as president on January 23rd 2015 - Kodra worked at BKT Bank of Tirana and was director of marketing at the ARMO, the largest oil refinery in Albania.

He lasted just 17 days being replaced last Monday by Giampietro Manenti who has vowed to pay the wages and clean up the operation.
The fact that the Parma/Chievo fix occurred two days into Manenti's regime does not bode well.

Albanian mafia have been actively distorting outcomes in the Austrian Bundesliga over the last 12 months while Cyprus is a prime location for Russian money laundering and related matchfixing (particularly involving Cypriot clubs and those from the former Soviet diaspora). The threats of violence and actual violence with regard to referees has become endemic with the most recent issue seeing a bomb left outside home of the mother of referee Thomas Mouskoss.

This season saw a whole array of questionable matchfixing events in the Qualifying Phases of both the Champions League and the UEFA Cup related to this Russia-Cyprus axis.

AEL Limassol v Zenit St Petersburg, Budocnost Podgorica v Omonia Nicosia, Metalurg Skopje v Omonia Nicosia, Dinamo Moscow v Omonia Nicosia and Apollon Nicosia v Lokomotiv Moscow.

Of course, a question that needs to be asked is how so many Russian diaspora v Cypriot matches could 'randomly' be pulled out of the UEFA hat when the draws were made!

With the Cypriot-Russian group having sold their control earlier this month, it is only to be hoped that the new regime straightens things out.
The worrying aspect is that the investment group that are the new owners are anonymous.
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Below (and for our cellular network only), we draw our assessments of the illicit money flows relating to AC Parma, their ownership, the global betting markets and their related offshore financial centres.

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© Football is Fixed 2006-2015

Follow us on Twitter @FootballisFixed

Thursday, 12 February 2015

The Impact Of Extreme Financial Distortions On The Integrity Of British Football


Britain's Annual GDP = £1.77 trillion.

Estimated Annual Global Betting Turnover on Football = £1 trillion.

New Premier League TV deal covering three seasons = £5.1 billion.

Average Global Betting Turnover on a Big 4 Premier League game = £5.0 billion.

Manchester United Market Capitalisation = £2.8 billion.

Premier League Annual Agents' Fees = £115 million.

Maximum Trade allowed in Asian Underground Markets  = £25 million.

Wayne Rooney's Annual Earnings = £12 million.

Richard Scudamore's Annual Earnings = £2 million.

Premier League Referee Annual Earnings = £100,000.

Annual Minimum Wage Employees at Premier League Clubs = £12,000. 
____________________________________________________________________________________

In late capitalism, financial distortions within a sector define the corruptions available...
... and, unfortunately, everybody has a price.

For example, the fact that the new Premier League tv deal (covering 1140 games) is worth the equivalent of the total global trading volume on just one major Premier League game is indicative of absolute betting market control of the sector. 

Or, the fact that 54 nation states have an annual GDP less than the new Premier League tv deal - Richard Scudamore runs a small country.

Or, the fact that the very lightly regulated global betting market has turnover equivalent to 56% of Britain's GDP is suggestive of the pressing need for far more onerous regulation.

Or, the fact that most bookmaking entities are linked to Offshore Financial Centres guaranteeing tax evasion and money laundering.

Or, the fact that referees on £2,000 per week are determining match outcomes on £5 billion markets resulting in an absolute certainty of matchfixing.

Or, if the market capitalisation of a club is exceeded by the betting turnover on just one of their matches then are we dealing with a football club or an inversion capital market medium?
___________________________________________________________________________________

When such financial structures exist, the outcomes are warped beyond recognition and bear no resemblance to the reality underpinning the corrupted marketplaces - we are dealing with a hyperreality.

Take horseracing.
My thesis in the mid-nineties was entitled "The Impact of Conspicuous Money on Outcome in British Horserace Betting Markets".
Here we had 'sporting' events with prize money of £3,000 and betting turnover of £10 million - the distorted incentives produced extensive corruption and the fixing of races to the benefit of ALL insiders (bookies, owners, trainers, jockeys etc).

The corruption was orchestrated from the very top of the industry sector.

While at the Centre for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming, I had discussions with Rodney Brack, the chief executive of the British Horseracing Levy Board (BHLB), where we openly discussed the mechanics of fixing a horserace - from non-trying jockeys to selected watering of courses etc etc etc.
Brack had no problem with these corruptions.

But horseracing is an internalised corrupted market of limited turnover whereas matchfixing in football is a truly transnational global affair.
This leads to an exponential increase in the levels of corruption.

The population at large has a real problem with corruption. There is a propensity to either assume that corruption exists but is acted upon by only a few bad apples or that everything is corrupt and that the only way to determine reality is by conspiracy theories.
Both are wrong.
Corruption in sport is extensive but not absolute.

And, the information and knowledge is out there if one cares to look.

Richard Murphy (Tax Justice Network) and Ian Fraser both knew about HSBC and tax avoidance/evasion in 2010 or earlier but there was minimal media interest and no action.
Or Phil Mac Giolla Bhain exposed the financial shenanigans at Glasgow Rangers years before the mainstream media eventually decided to pick up on the extensive corruptions and tax avoidance/evasion at the club.
.
Entertainingly for the zeitgeist, income inequalities not only produce fraud, money laundering and tax evasion but also a far greater incentive for whistleblowers to confront and expose the criminalities at play.
Joseph Stiglitz claims that, in extremis, these wealth distortions create revolutionary paradigms partially due to the disconnect between the hyperrealities of the 1% and the' real' realities of the 99%.

And so it is in football.

We are largely unemployable in British football due to our 8 year whistleblowing campaign against corruption, matchfixing and fraud in the sport - no entity wants transparency.
But aside from the likes of ourselves, there are other individuals who are within the millionaire's paradise who feel thoroughly disenfranchised from the rewards on offer.
And there are others who, aware of the distortions in the sector, have a price where they will sell out on the corruption for personal gain.

The fulsome exposure of matchfixing, corruption, tax evasion, money laundering and fraud in British football is merely a matter of time.
And then everyone will say "why wasn't this exposed by mainstream media, regulators, institutions and government before now?"

Just as we are all now asking that same question about HSBC, HMRC, PwC, Barclays, RBS, the Murdochracy, Lehman Brothers, Enron etc etc etc ad nauseum.

© Football is Fixed 2006-2015

Follow us on Twitter @FootballisFixed

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The Art Of Whistleblowing


Slavoj Žižek: "A market economy thrives on inequality so self-interest will always triumph over the public good."
Hence, for the integrity of the system, whistleblowers are essential.

This is the first of three posts addressing whistleblowing both in football and across a broader systemic base.

In football, matchfixing is rife - in Europe, 60% of associations have experienced scandals in the last two years and yet there is effectively no sports governance and there are no reliable bodies analysing such corruptions as all have inappropriate relationships to the various loci of criminalities. 
Moreover, there is a culture of omertà within the loop where matchfixing is accepted and serves as an illicit currency within the game.

In parallel, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) together with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) give corporations the power to trump national sovereignty and individual rights.
Such abuses may only be addressed by bottom up whistleblowing and hacktivism.
Otherwise the outcome will be a totalitarianism founded on corrupted institutions and a world order devised by and for a global corporate elite.
Globalised markets need globalised regulation.

Whistleblowers should not exist.
Their work should be undertaken by regulators, police, governments and investigative journalists within the Fourth Estate.
But the recent exponential and global growth of whistleblowers across all economic sectors suggests that these entities are a part of the problem rather than the cure.

As there can be no dependence on the law, whistleblowers need to develop skills so that they are able to be more effective in bringing about change by taking the issues to a wider audience.
And this needs to be achieved whilst surfing the zeitgeist of corruption (together with the insider and public perceptions of such corruption) so that personal security profiles may be maintained robustly.
And there is very limited support within the system for whistleblowers - indeed there are very lucrative merry-go-rounds involving institutions, market makers, regulators and even some whistleblowing bodies/charities (eg Public Concern at Work or the FA's Sports Betting Integrity Unit or Federbet).

Corruption forensics and sousveillance are at the core of all whistleblowing and whistleblowers oscillate between black, grey and white markets in their detection work. The reality to be modelled is neo-Bayesian, complex and in a constant state of chaotic flux with the resultant holographic entity needing to be updated in real-time. There are strategic choices that need to be made in order to achieve the best outcomes - in some cases direct action and Fifth Estate activism and, in other cases, realpolitik and incrementalism via the Fourth Estate. 
It all depends on the maturity and solidity of the corrupt mechanism being addressed.

Security is paramount as is the ability to operate invisibly off the radar of the system - I spent over a decade with no bank accounts, no mortgages, disguised rentals, mobile offices across three countries, no utility provision, no telecommunications contracts, numerous PAYG mobiles, no earnings, no tax, numerous parallel internet networks (some encrypted and undertaking creative hacktivism), complex travel arrangements etc.

Protection is paramount all along the continuum from sources to whistleblowers to campaigners, journalists and publishers as any weakness results in a lowest common denominator quantum leap in risk.

We operate via a global cellular network of individuals and well-connected action groups with shared aims and layered security based on the strategies of single issue direct action groups like the Animal Liberation Front.
Face to face security is embedded by selective choice of meetings (we have pulled out of meetings with bodies on numerous occasions through our assessment of their hidden agendas and liaisons) and all meetings are recorded and undertaken with attendant security on hand. Negotiations and the sharing of knowledge are filtered via isolationist boundaries and an assessment of the vertically integrated hierarchies involved. And all meetings are approached with an array of potential strategies both to achieve our goals and to destabilise inappropriate behaviours from other parties at the table.

Creative whistleblowing requires enhanced anonymity with enhanced strategy and protection.

Corruption in football directly mirrors that in the global financial system and much modelling of these infrastructures share similarities. 
But there is a time lag. 
So, whereas insider trading was made illegal in financial markets in Britain half a century ago, it is at the very root of the issue of integrity in football.
Furthermore, the same techniques exist for the hiding of fraudulent behaviour (both with regard to matchfixing and abuses of the transfer market). 
Money is laundered via very particular Offshore Financial Centres (OFCs) using a small network of morally illegitimate onshore/offshore legal entities (in Britain, Panama and elsewhere).

The money sloshing around this shadow system does not yield any tax benefits to the remainder of the planet but merely serves as a sociopathic power grab.
And the figures are colossal.
According to the Tax Justice Network $21 trillion to $32 trillion of private financial wealth is held offshore. $1 trillion is syphoned off from developing countries per annum while the detection rate for tax evasion is just 1% (about the same as the declared instances of matchfixing at 0.7%).
As over 60% of international trade takes place within multinationals, the options for abusive inversion capitalism are considerable as there are no obstacles to the financialisation of the companies nor the creative tax evasion undertaken across different tax environments.
Meanwhile, over 50% of the world's adults lack bank accounts.

The global turnover on football betting markets is estimated at £3.4 trillion per year.
This cashflow is outside any system - third party ownership and suitcases of money with regard to transfer market corruptions and the stealing of monies off other market players and operators with regard to matchfixing.
This is inversion capitalism in extremis, football has merely become a poker table for psychopathic corruptions involving vast amounts of money.

The solutions are not rocket science.
In football, just six core areas need to be addressed to markedly reduce matchfixing (http://footballisfixed.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/how-to-solve-match-fixing-once-and-for.html)

The key changes will be incremental in any future reality but the changes will still have impact - the adjustment of corruption from being a rigged certainty to a probabilistic outcome will peripheralise the gains that might be achieved via matchfixing.

In the wider global economy, we need openness on corporate ownership and all secrecy jurisdictions, unitary taxation, no tax havens, no unpublished accounts or limited tax disclosures, no use of consolidated financial statements to disguise offshore transactions, no nominees, the banning of offshore trusts, an end to banking secrecy and proper reasons for miscreants to think twice.

When a whistleblower (Jeremy Hammond) faces a 10 year jail sentence for disclosing the inappropriate behaviours of US geopolitical intelligence giant Stratfor while Stratfor is immune to prosecution, what message does this send out to future whistleblowers?
And surely it does not help that the husband of the judge in this case (Loretta Preska) works with Stratfor clients!

© Football is Fixed 2006-2014 
  
Follow us on Twitter @FootballisFixed

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Who Regulates The Regulators?


The Ponzi pyramid of self-justification that underpins all free market structures is always a part of the problem rather than a part of the cure.

Who guards the guardians?
Who governs the governors?
Who moderates the moderators?
Who regulates the regulators?

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is not fit for purpose.
Nine out of 12 board members were simply parachuted across from the board of the disbanded Financial Services Authority (FSA) - that's the FSA that failed to suitably regulate the banks prior to and during the 2007/08 crash.
The FSA's regulatory style was so light touch as to be reiki.
Reiki regulation!

The FSA was a prime example of regulatory capture - a form of political corruption that occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or special concerns of interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.

In response, the FCA must be seen to be regulating with the utmost integrity.
Some hope.
Bizarrely, the FCA created a false market in major insurers' shares after botching a press briefing - the share prices of major insurers plunged after the Telegraph published the story.
A 225 page report released this week goes further: "The strategy and manner in which [the media strategy] was pursued was... high risk, poorly supervised and inadequately controlled. When it went wrong, the FCA's reaction was seriously inadequate and fell short of the standards expected of those it regulates."
The regulator tilted the markets!

And the FCA response is to repay some executive bonuses received in an extended window of self-justification and to immediately rush out a long delayed report into the mis-selling of annuities in a blatant display of exactly the sort of public relations and branding that regulatory bodies should not be in business of needing to undertake.

But similar structures are the norm - other recent examples include OFWAT mistakenly overestimating water companies' capital costs when setting price levels and then refusing to impose London Stock Exchange disclosure requirements on non-stock market listed companies, or PricewaterhouseCoopers selling tax avoidance on an industrial scale with the strategy only coming to public knowledge via internal leaks.

Why is it nearly always whistleblowers and (Wiki)leakers but very rarely regulatory bodies and institutional self-policing that reveal the financial miscreants?.

The big picture is one of pure Randian psychopathy - there's minimal red tape to act as an obstacle for the steady flow of sociopathic outsiders to join the psychopathic insiders as cowboy capitalism races to the bottom of its barrel...
... but in the world of football, the situation is worse - neo-Randian!.

Nothing is regulated on any primary level of operation and there are supportive and corrupted flow networks integrated globally to prevent any hope of integrity rearing its head.

All six of the primary bodies allegedly looking into football integrity and matchfixing are compromised in their purpose via their ownership.
Indeed, in certain cases, a more motley crew of interested parties could not have been created even if one had set out explicitly with such purpose!
Fragmented cartels of corruption!

Football governance verges on the non-existent and, even at best, is merely a branding and self-justification process.

Certain entities and structures are systemically corrupt...
... in fact, I'll rewrite that sentence - there are very few bodies and networks in global football that are not systemically corrupt!
Regulation is invisible or malleable self-regulation that equates to no regulation at all - agents, dark pools, betting markets, insider trading, matchfixing, money laundering, third party ownership, mainstream media compliance in a restricted narrative while, once again, whistleblowers and (Wiki)leakers expose, bottom-up, what any decent system would implement top-down.

Inversion capitalism - asset stripping and financial profiteering from the monetising of a brand, tax avoidance and evasion, antisocial competition practices with minimal regulation (for self-justification), alongside state punishment for 5th Estate types who get in the way - the Obama administration has started more prosecutions against whistleblowers than all presidents combined over the last century.
20 whistleblowers have been murdered in India in the last five years.

And the corrupt operations in the distorted infrastructures attract disproportionate investment as investors understand that increased returns are gained by psychopathic control in a lightly regulated marketplace, compounding up the cycles of corruption over time.

FIFA, the FCA, UEFA, PwC, the Premier League, Barclays, the Glazers, the FA Sports Betting Integrity Unit, Gestifute, Goldman Sachs, all these oil companies from interesting geopolitical locations that are buying up British football teams, private equity, dark pools, the control of whistleblowing bodies by those who should be whistleblown, derivatives markets, offshore financial centres and markets, NGO-lite structures etc - pure neo-Bayesian corruption entities beyond the reach of any economic theory as such theory may only be reactive to this juggernaut of inversion free-marketry where there are no rules.

Who regulates the regulators?

And why don't regulators regulate?

© Football is Fixed 2006-2014   

Follow us on Twitter @FootballisFixed  

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Ongoing Takeover Of British Football By The New Global Financial Capitalist Elite


One of the most striking features of football in recent times has been the takeover of leading clubs by investors who would not appear, on the surface, to have any real interest in the business of football.

Consequently, the wave of American takeovers of clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Sunderland and Aston Villa is the subject of this post.

In the eyes of this particular new breed of owners, it is no longer necessary to win titles and trophies.
The creation of short term cash is everything. 
If competitions can be won as well then this is fine and dandy but club performance on the field is always secondary to financial achievement off of it. 

This puts such owners at odds with the fans.

Dr Jack Rasmus: "The [global financial capitalist] elite are deepening their control of non-financial companies and are increasingly directing those companies toward profits growth from financial manipulation as the primary corporate activity... Instead of making profits by making real things that require real investment and employ real people, the focus of global capitalism is increasingly toward more financial asset investment."

Thus real profit is being surpassed by generating forms of money capital as profit.

It is the US that is behind the majority of this activity.

Financial gains may be 'created' by manipulation of the US tax code through the utilisation of 'inversion' capitalism and, additionally, shadow bankers and their financial speculators also markedly gain from the structure.
Even greater gains come from financial speculation that benefit other investors, major shareholders and senior management.
Rasmus: "Lower taxes for the US corporation from the inversion means more retained corporate cash on hand, and the prospect of more future earnings as well, all of which in turn drives up the company’s stock price. That makes the company even more attractive to investors like hedge funds and equity firms, which buy up big blocks of both the purchasing and purchased companies’ stock. Banks and shadow bankers that jump into the process at the outset, buying up company stock in the process, also provide original funding for the company’s purchase. Others jump into the stock as the acquisition deal proceeds. Once concluded, early and latecomers both then reap a nice capital gain from the eventual stock price appreciation that almost always follows the deal... So all levels of financial speculators benefit from these ‘inversion’ deals—shadow bank investors, hedge fund managers, big stockholders, and top corporate managers with significant stock holdings and compensation—all realise big capital gains from stock price manipulation that is at the core of tax inversion deals. Again, it is not just about tax avoidance; it is about stock price manipulation and huge capital gains."

Taking Manchester United as our primary example.
The leveraged buyout by the Glazers imposed significant annual interest repayments on the club.
This outflow of tens of millions of pounds annually prevents significant reinvestment in the transfer market with the club being restricted to players in the £20-35m strata as opposed to the level of players being purchased by Real Madrid or Barcelona, for example.
Ronaldo out...
... Fellaini in!

Additionally transfer activity is delayed in a brinksmanship fashion to produce the maximum benefit to short term cash flow. Last season this resulted in the majority of transfer targets failing by end of transfer window and there is now pressure on Ed Woodward to make the necessary purchases this season.
Many of these targets will not arrive as the selling club will price their assets according to Man Utd's 'need'.

But, to the Glazers, Manchester United's failure to purchase star players, land the title, win any trophies, qualify for Champions League or Europa League is entirely trumped by the £750m 10 year Adidas deal that produces lots and lots of cash.

Other takeovers are of even more questionable integrity due to the owners' interests in betting markets.
In these cases, the generation of cash by match manipulation frequently competes with integrity on the pitch.

Inversion capitalism is the lovechild of private equity where short term profits were generated by taking over a company, asset stripping its value and selling on the shell at a significant profit.
Indeed, inversion deals are merely a slightly longer term version of private equity on a global stage.

And there are now copycat structures popping up all over the British game.

If you apply the above template to Celtic, for example, many of the same bullet points appear.
  • The selling of players at significant profit (Wanyama, Forster, Hooper, McGeady, Ki, Ledley, Wilson and Watt bringing in £40m gain to the club) without the necessary reinvestment or the strategy of bringing in numerous players on loan without any capital outlay (or future profits). Or club loyalty.
  • Refusal to invest for Champions League progression as the financial returns of such investment are uncertain.
  • Satisfaction with winning SPL ad finitum rather than strategic planning towards the future European Super League as these potential profits are too far into the future for short-termist thinkers.
  • The scheduling of pointless pre-season friendlies all around Europe for financial gains rather than developing a sense of 'home' at Murrayfield during period that Parkhead was hired out for profit. If Legia Warszawa hadn't messed up, this season would be over already in a footballing sense.
  • Low wage, minimum wage, living wage issues at the bottom of the club hierarchy.
  • The linkage to criminalised agents of highly questionable integrity both with regard to transfer markets and betting markets.
There are numerous other modular structures to serve the same or similar ends - the Abramovich Trophy Club Model, the Carson Yeung/ Thaksin Shinawatra Asian Betting Market Model, the Dubai/Mumbai Betting Market Model, the Abu Dhabi Global Franchise Model, the Real Madrid/Gestifute Model, the ADO Den Haag/United Vansen Model, the Leeds United Model MkI, II and III, the Bet365/Stoke City Model, the Stellar Agents Model, the John Colquhoun/Jonathan Moss Model as well as varieties of Sevco Self-Harming Models.

None of these capitalist matrices have the interests of the particular club at heart.
All are geared to the short term financial gains of a criminalised global finance capitalist elite.

But, what the hell do we care?

For many more itemised angles on corruption follow us on Twitter @FootballIsFixed

© Football is Fixed 2006-2014

Follow us on Twitter @FootballisFixed 

Monday, 6 January 2014

Crying Child, English Football (Insider Trading And Match Fixing?)

                                   The Magic Of The Cup Or The Tragic Of The Muck?                                         

Insider Trading And Match Fixing?

Nottingham Forest opened at 3.20 (11/5) in places for their FA Cup tie versus West Ham United.

By kick off, Nottingham Forest were 1.35 (4/11) at 10Bet.

West Ham drifted from Evens to 9/2.

Turnover was of a level normally seen in Big Six Premier League clashes.

IN OUR DATABASE OF OVER 80,000 GAMES COVERING TWO DECADES OF GLOBAL FOOTBALL WE HAVE NEVER WITNESSED SUCH PRICE DYNAMICS (WITH VOLUME) AS EXISTED ON THIS MATCH.

But...

Over 50% of the pre-match volume was traded before the West Ham team was made public...
... that was the team with 9 changes and three debutants and a 3 man defence where two players were making their first appearances of the season and the other was a midfielder who had been out for a month. A couple of substitutes were also debutants.

Oh, and a change of goalkeeper.

After losing 5-0, the West Ham hierarchy are offering a VIP package to the child filmed crying during this allegedly competitive game.

Looking at the betting patterns, that is the very least that the club should be doing.

If any one person involved in the match underperformed due to knowledge of the global gamble then we are dealing with match fixing.

Insider trading or...
... match fixing AND insider trading? 
___________________________________________________________________________________

When even youngsters know that they are being ripped off, the insider bettors really do not see reality in the same way as the rest of us.

Meanwhile in a parallel universe, Gordon Strachan, the Ladbrokes ambassador (for feck's sake?!), informed us on the ITV FA Cup highlights show: "The fans know nothing."

Which may be the case but at least they know enough to understand that they have just witnessed the biggest insider gamble for two decades and on a terrestrial televised match just two months into The English Match Fixing Scandal...

... even more audacious if it turns out to be match fixing!

IT IS ENTIRELY VALID TO REST PLAYERS...
... IT ISN'T VALID WHEN KNOWLEDGE OF THIS SELECTION SURFACES VIA SOME PEOPLE IN-THE-KNOW AS A COLOSSAL CO-ORDINATED INSIDER GAMBLE ACROSS THE PLANET.

THE INFORMATION SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE PUBLIC EARLIER SO THAT ITV DIDN'T PAY TO BROADCAST WEST HAM 3RD TEAM AND FANS DIDNT WASTE THEIR MONEY.

FANS PAY THEIR AUSTERITY-BITTEN EARNINGS TO WATCH FOOTBALL - NOT A BETTING SCANDAL UNFOLDING.

THIS INSIDER GAMBLE MASSIVELY DISTORTED AND CORRUPTED THE MARKETS FOR PRIVATE PROFIT.

AND IF THAT ISN'T ILLICIT INSIDER TRADING THEN WHAT THE FECK IS?  

BUT THE LIQUIDITY SUGGESTS THAT SOME PEOPLE WERE IN NO DOUBT AS TO THE OUTCOME AND THAT MAKES THIS EVENT SOMETHING FAR MORE SIGNIFICANT.

And even if this is solely an example of sociopathic insider trading...
... in financial markets in Britain, insider trading used to be regarded as a perk of the job before regulation was introduced. 
Now people are occasionally jailed for such psychopathy.

Why is insider trading on football seen differently?
Or have we become so inured to the corruption in the game that fans also see insider betting as merely being a perk of the job?

When bookies see such insider volume, the markets should be suspended as they are corrupted. All bets should be cancelled. End of...
Instead, the bookmakers trade it elsewhere for private profit. 

And that makes little boys cry! 

___________________________________________________________________________________

Meanwhile the authorities focus their concerted attentions on accusing some Black men of getting booked deliberately...

DJ Campbell Is Innocent...
... Relatively.
___________________________________________________________________________________

This blog post is no accusation against any individual or grouping of individuals.
But some insiders, those in-the-know, people in the loop, exploited inside knowledge to profit from a compromised market.
Our primary point is that this opportunity should not exist.
It is a loophole.

Bookies pass the knowledge around the world in a pyramid scheme of insider exploitation of the market until some offshore layer is left holding the liquidity parcel when the music stops.

This isn't a legitimate market.
It is a poker play.

But you cannot blame people for exploiting opportunities that come their way...
... it is the infrastructure of the game architected by the authorities that allow this casino to exist.

Until global betting markets are regulated, globally, and there is a compulsion for club officials to make public new knowledge that impacts upon the markets, these farces will recur recurrently.

Football markets are highly liquid global markets and should be treated as such.

If the information had been made public then ITV wouldn't have covered the game, bookmakers would have priced the market correctly, advertisers wouldn't be peeved about viewing figures, the FA Cup brand wouldn't have been tainted and, most importantly of all, West Ham fans wouldn't have wasted their money on a 3rd team game away from home with defeat a certainty.

After all, a debutant, a seasonal debutant and a midfielder who has not played in a month in a three man defence in front of a new goalie still perfecting his English is a given if you are in receipt of the knowledge!

http://footballisfixed.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/how-to-solve-match-fixing-once-and-for.html 


For many more itemised angles on corruption follow us on Twitter @FootballIsFixed  
© Football is Fixed 2006-2013

Friday, 3 January 2014

The Demise Of Glasgow Rangers (As Foretold By Monty Python)


A new owner enters a football club.

New Owner: 'Ello, I wish to register a complaint.

(The Original Owner does not respond.)
NO: 'Ello, Miss?

OO: What do you mean "miss"?
NO: I'm sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint!

OO: We're closin' for lunch.
NO: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this football club what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.

OO: Oh yes, the, uh, the Glasgow Blue...What's,uh...What's wrong with it?
NO: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. It's dead, that's what's wrong with it!

OO: No, no, it's uh,...it's resting.
NO: Look, matey, I know a dead football club when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

OO: No no it's not dead, it's, it's restin'! Remarkable club, the Glasgow Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!
NO: The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead.

OO: Nononono, no, no! It's resting!
NO: All right then, if it's restin', I'll wake it up!

(shouting at the table)

'Ello, Mister Football Club! I've got a lovely fresh corruption for you if you show...(original owner hits the table)

OO: There, it moved!
NO: No, it didn't, that was you hitting the table!

OO: I never!!
NO: Yes, you did!

OO: I never, never did anything...
NO: (yelling and hitting the table repeatedly) 'ELLO HUNNY!!!!!

Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o'clock alarm call!

(Takes football club off the table and thumps its head on the chair. Throws it up in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.)
NO: Now that's what I call a dead football club.

OO: No, no.....No, it's stunned!
NO: STUNNED?!?

OO: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up! Glasgow Blues stun easily, major.
NO: Um...now look...now look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this. That football club is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not 'alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein' tired and shagged out following a prolonged court case.

OO: Well, it's...it's, ah...probably pining for the courts.

NO: PININ' for the COURTS?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, look, why did it fall flat on it's back the moment I got it home?

OO: The Glasgow Blue prefers kippin' on it's back! Remarkable club, id'nit, squire? Lovely plumage!
NO: Look, I took the liberty of examining that football club when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been upright in the first place was that it had been NAILED there.

(pause)

OO: Well, o'course it was nailed there! If I hadn't nailed that club down, it would have nuzzled up to those bars, bent 'em apart, and VOOM! Feeweeweewee!

NO: "VOOM"?!? Mate, this club wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts through it! It's bleedin' demised!

OO: No no! It's pining!
NO: It's not pinin'! It's passed on! This football club is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet it's maker!

'It's a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed it to the ground it'd be pushing up the daisies! It's metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'It's off the twig!
'It's kicked the bucket, it's shuffled off it's mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!!

THIS IS AN EX-FOOTBALL CLUB!!

(pause)

OO: Well, I'd better replace it, then.

(he takes a quick peek behind the table)

OO: Sorry squire, I've had a look 'round the back, and uh, we're right out of Glasgow Blues. They've recently become extinct.
NO: I see. I see, I get the picture.

OO: I got a Sevconian Slug.

(pause)
NO: (sweet as sugar) Pray, does it corrupt relentlessly?

OO: Dunno.

NO: WELL IT'S HARDLY A BLOODY REPLACEMENT, IS IT?!!???!!?

© Football is Fixed 2006-2013

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Celtic Schisms

Introduction

Celtic FC has a history and a network like no other.

The Irish Republican politics, the ground-breaking Lisbon Lions, the intense support (ask Messi or Maldini), the global fanbase, the web of talented individuals who have given and still freely give their time, money and expertise to advance the club strategically...
... or, in the case of John Keane, to save the club from financial oblivion.

All of the great global football teams have this linkage with history and political purpose and a sense of community.

But the impact of the current fallout between the Celtic financial hierarchy and the real owners of the club, the fans, is a major dysfunction that must be solved immediately before it creates yet more harm for the club.

                        Unfortunately, in postmodern football, history and politics are problems

For five days in September, I had the very best job in the world - a high level consultancy with Celtic to enable passage to the 2nd Phase of the Champions League this season.

Unfortunately Peter Lawwell, in his own heroic way, pulled on the deal.

The holistic of the consultancy was to protect Celtic against corruptions that occur to undermine the strategies of the club in the Champions League.
The irony of the failure to conclude the agreement is obvious.
We are a cellular grouping of forensic analysts revealing corruptions and Celtic are a football team owned by a bookmaker, Dermot Desmond (Betdaq supremo).

We have been informed that it was deemed too risky to proceed with the consultancy in case we came across internal issues in our monitoring of the external.

As a result, the club strategy for this year's Champions League Group Stage was diabolical in the early stages (http://footballisfixed.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/one-love-art-of-war.html).

And it did not improve thereafter.
The same strategic errors were repeated as last season with some new ones thrown in for good measure. No lessons have been learnt and the structure is simply one of the blind paying one another to lead one another blindly.

Nobody within the club hierarchy nor any of the agents leeching onto the club have any perception of UEFA hidden agendas and internal power-plays and linkages etc etc.
The club do not possess the template to even start planning any strategy for Champions League and future European Super League success.

As we are no longer willing to work with the club under the current regime, we are limited as to the solutions that we are able to offer in this place.
But we have found four areas worthy of discussion without impinging on any of our isolationist thresholds.

1. Club Interests Versus Private Agendas

We originally approached Celtic when we were informed via a contact within UEFA that the European governing body were going to be taking a very close look at the Champions League Qualifier between Cliftonville and Celtic in case any politics were seen in the UEFA sphere.

The UEFA Champions League, by and large, is a marketing process.
It is not feasible for Celtic to celebrate their past as this does not fit in with the UEFA brand - pony-tailed ball skills with a pirouette are preferred to anything approaching political reality.

Part of my discussions with Lawwell centred on this very point - he understands totally that the fans are the biggest asset of the club but wishes to cleanse them of their history to optimise European performance and cashflow.

One could call this a strategy (even if one views it as an inappropriate one)...
... but the club then sell short of achieving that 'optimisation' by focus on their own private agendas and connections.
When it comes to push versus shove, club versus self, enlightened self-interest wins the day.

If the club hierarchy are going to sell out on the fans, the history, the raison d'etre and grasp a share of this UEFA nirvana for the Celtic Brand, then surely they need to focus on the success of this brand absolutely rather than allowing their own private considerations to come into play.

At the moment, this is not happening.
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2. Politics

Bobby Sands MP, representing the Anti H-Block party, was elected as a member of the British parliament in 1981.

30,493 people voted for him in the Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituency.
There was an 86.9% turnout.
Sands had a public mandate to fight against inappropriate state power and terror...
... exactly the same as Nelson Mandela who was eulogised by UEFA after his death.

When the club were being punished by UEFA for displaying political imagery, why didn't the hierarchy point out the equivalence between the politics and strategies of Sands/IRA when compared with Mandela/ANC?

After all, Cameron wanted Mandela to hang, Thatcher thought him a terrorist and the US agreed by keeping him on their list of global terrorists until 2008 before he was whitewashed into someone else.

Instead the club have allowed their club brand to be demoted in the UEFA marketing pyramid without offering a stout defence.
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3. Club Ownership

As we have pointed out before (http://footballisfixed.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/how-to-solve-match-fixing-once-and-for.html) there are potentially issues of integrity when bookmakers own football clubs.

We have NO evidence of inappropriate fixing of Celtic matches due to Desmond/Betdaq link but this is a structure that should generally be regarded as one being primed for shenanigans.

And we are always wary of bookmakers that, like Betdaq, do not allow winning accounts as, after all, if you are not allowed to win off a bookmaker then the business interaction is something else entirely!

There must be occasions when Desmond's personal financial focus is different to that of the club...
... and this must be a concern.

When board members and club agents are known to bet on Celtic matches, is it invalid to express concern that people higher up the hierarchy might conceivably share a similar inclination?

And, as a background, there is something vaguely distasteful about Desmond being £2 million in pocket, Lawwell annually heating his driveway with £700K while the club refuses to pay a Living Wage at the bottom of the pyramid.
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4. A Way Forward

The atmosphere at the recent Hearts match was truly depressing.
Things need to change.
And fast.

From our position, we might suggest a discussion based around very basic foundational areas:

Who owns the club? The financial hierarchy or the fans? How might co-ownership be achieved?  What happens when the needs of the club differ from those paid to manage it?

Decisions made in the imminent future will determine the future of Celtic for decades to come.

Time to get strategic. 
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For Celtic to be self-harming in this window of massive monopolistic competitive opportunity in Scotland is a crying shame.
To waste all this energy turning inwards rather than planning for a brighter future in the European Super League is only helping one team, Sevconians.

And Lawwell was wrong on this too...
... Sevconians are not an imitation of a reality in the sense of Rory Bremner doing Tony Blair, because the real Tony Blair (unfortunately) still exists while the comedian performs his parallel.

Sevconians are actually a posthumous tribute act - just like a Michael Jackson one or an Elvis one...
... only with weaker songs.

Rangers no longer exist and Sevconians merely allow a little nostalgia and reminiscence for those who still care.

Rangers are the past. Not the future. 
Just mock them.

Hail Hail Hogmanay!


© Football is Fixed 2006-2013 

Friday, 13 December 2013

How To Solve Match Fixing Once And For All

Yesterday, Liberal Democrat MP Sir Bob Russell said that English professional football is "rotten to the core" and that a Royal Commission is required to clean up football with "parasitic agents" being the major problem.

If any such Royal Commission is to work then it will need to thoroughly address the six points outlined below.
Otherwise the game is up.
 
Also yesterday, UEFA announced that they are drafting an 11-point plan aimed to eradicate match-fixing, labelling it their 'top priority'.

Unfortunately, skimming over the pitch put forward by the aptly named UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino, we can only expect peripheral tinkering akin to that achieved by the British government's select committee who reported last summer.
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On Tuesday night, there was a highly suspicious match between FC Bayern and Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League (http://footballisfixed.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/was-fc-bayern-versus-manchester-city-fix.html) (http://footballisfixed.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/the-fixing-of-champions-league-games.html).

We may be polemical but there is evidently a case to be answered here.
This is a suspicious event between the Champions League holders and the richest club in the world!
And media silence.

Instead UEFA claim only 0.7% of matches are fixed and the mainstream media in Britain focuses on Whitehawk FC and DJ Campbell.

Infantino also indicated that UEFA want to strengthen the links between sports authorities and state bodies but this is a structure that can backfire dependent on who represents the state - there are many countries where state interference would only serve to increase the corruption.

We are employed by clubs as leech consultants.
We protect clubs against systemic and particular corruptions against their interests.
We analyse the zeitgeist of corruption.

To us, the most astonishing aspect of the match fixing 'crisis' is that when we have seen that government, the mainstream media, investment banking, the police, retail banks, the utilities, many other sports are all corrupted, there is this religious belief that, somehow, top level football is not tainted.
Football has taken over from religion - everybody is 'Something FC 'til I Die'.
And we don't want our New Deity to be killed off just yet.

But if football really wants to save itself from the neohyperrealities of the present systemic corruptions, it needs to implement every single one of the points below in their entirety.

No pseudo-11 point plan but an overhaul of an entirely corrupt mechanism from top to bottom.
But starting at the top.

DJ Campbell Is Innocent!
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1. The Betting Markets and Insider Trading

The primary concern are the global betting markets.
There are three levels of market activity - the public markets, the Dark Pools and the illegal underground markets based largely but not exclusively in South East Asia.

With a global network of this type, there has to be global regulation with jail sentences and life bans for miscreants.
The global betting market turnover on football is thought to have reached £1 trillion.
£1 trillion is over 50% of the Britain's annual GDP!!

All markets must be public.
All trading by insiders must be registered with a Commitment of Traders body to prevent inside knowledge being exploited.
All players, referees, agents, managers should be banned from betting entirely.
All suspicious betting must be reported to forensic analysts to detect fraudulent behaviour - the current level of expertise exhibited by Early Warning, Interpol/ Europol etc is not professional enough (we are able to detect insider betting and match fixing in many more games than 0.7%!!).
All spot-markets should be banned.
All Dark Pool activity must be regulated and made public, the same with the Asian underground and the developing undergrounds in Dubai, the Caribbean, numerous British offshore territories, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Tbilisi, Nigeria, Australia, the US and Canada, Brazil, Mumbai etc.

2. Agents and the Markets

Every single football agent that I have ever met has been criminalised!

Agents are a lubricant in the game and, in addition to leeching money from the sport, they facilitate corruptions relating to both the betting markets and the transfer markets.

Ownership of goalkeepers, linkage with referees (see below), multiple ownership of players in a game, even more extensive multiple ownership via linkage with other agents in a fragmented cartel of illicit match fixing and betting market activity.
Accordingly agents not only distort, corrupt and profit from the betting markets that they exploit, they degenerate the sport and impact upon trophies being won and relegations/ promotions etc.
The careers of players are also affected by these corruptions and the fan is forced to watch events where the outcome is clearly visible in underground betting markets pre-match!

Agents corrupt Champions League games at the highest level and yet UEFA do nothing.

Agents also, as is their wont, exploit the transfer market via 3rd party ownership.

There is no regulation for agents.
And no regulation or self-regulation is pointless.
Agents distort every single aspect of the sport and often utilise business practices that border on the slave trade when it comes to footballers from Africa and certain South and Central American countries.
Coercion of players relating to the betting markets is a major issue.
Additionally, under the table payments are the norm and ownership networks are structured similarly to the Tor proxy server concept!

Agents must be regulated.

3. Club Owners

Surely it is asking for trouble if club owners double as bookmakers.

There will inevitably be occasions when the financial self-interest of Mr Bet 365 The Bookmaker will trump the interests of Mr Bet 365 The Football Club (Stoke City) - the only issue is whether such self-interest is implemented.
Additionally, this incentive to fix can result in club owners stopping their own teams from winning to the absolute detriment of the fans who are paying the wages and the integrity of the game.

All club ownership should be open rather than underground and opaque.
Fit and proper persons rulings should be robust and thoroughly implemented - the Championship in England is a veritable Hotch Potch of Inappropriates when it comes to club ownership...
... and the Premier League is only marginally better.

4. Referees

Referees are an issue.
Relatively underpaid in a millionaire's paradise, they are ripe for corruption.

Referees are chosen from too small a pool (only 18 for the Premier League - the most liquid betting market on the planet, for example) and have very long careers.
Market ownership of a referee is a big earner for both parties.
Referees are additionally 'owned' by other participants in the game - clubs, mafia, even UEFA chooses referees relating to its own annual marketing plan AND the importance of allegiance to the G14(18) power base of clubs.

If referees were selected meritocratically then corruption from this source would be harder to implement.
To this end, the ratings of referees need to be made public and the implementation of video technology (see next point) will enable 'under-achievers' to be rooted out and discarded.

5. Video Technology

It is more critical for football to have video technology than cricket, tennis or rugby yet the authorities refuse to introduce anything more than goalline technology. Why?

An incorrect wicket in cricket, line call in tennis or try in rugby is rarely match changing yet those sports guard against such occurrences by using technology ...
... in football a goal or a penalty or a sending off very frequently is a match changing event and yet we have virtually nothing.

Up to 40 wickets in a Test Match, 240 points in a tennis match, half a dozen tries in a game of rugby...
... and one goal.

Furthermore, because professional footballers are well aware of the corruptions taking place, once a referee signals his intent, there is a psychological deflation in the victim team.

The most striking aspect of watching cricket or rugby is how fan conversation always relates to the game itself due to the utilisation of video technology for virtually all contentious decisions.
This serves to produce the correct result, massively reduce corruption and act as a measurement of performance of referees and umpires.

The argument that it would slow down the game is fatuous.

It would add excitement if marketed correctly.
UEFA and the Premier League would be able to bombard us with messages from their media partners while we waited to see if it is a penalty or not!

6. Whistleblowing Hotline

When we have meetings with administrative bodies, chief executives, football managers, club owners, analysts, bookmakers, many fans, there is acceptance that football is corrupt but that nobody is going to do anything about it due to both financial self-interest and fear.

Remember Mike Newell? He soon disappeared from the game!

A global whistleblowing hotline needs to be set up to allow knowledge of match fixing to be made available to the various bodies that will need to be established for Points 1-5 to be achieved.
This must be anonymous and rewarded.
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People like ourselves who receive threats and menaces due to their efforts to expose football that is "riddled with corruption" need to be protected.

The sport is flooded with mafiosi interests - at the moment, I am enjoying extensive conversations with a contact over the role of Serbian mafia in Italian and Serbian football and the role of Albanian mafia in the Austrian game.

But such groups are only able to exploit the integrity of football due to an entire lack of regulation in many areas and loopholes elsewhere.
If FIFA and UEFA eliminated these distortions, we could have betting markets on a level playing field and football would not be fixed. 


We are taking serious existential risks to disclose these neohyperrealities of modern football.

THIS IS NOT HOW IT SHOULD BE.

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NB: Please note that myself or other members of our cellular body are available for media in this window. 
You can reach us via a Direct Message at Twitter (@footballisfixed) or via email (footballisfixed02@googlemail.com).


© Football is Fixed 2006-2013