New Match-Fixing Accusations Threaten Argentina’s Sports Market

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New Match-Fixing Accusations Threaten Argentina’s Sports Market

Around the world, initiatives are in place to try to eliminate incidences of match-fixing in sports. However, Argentina’s sports ecosystem is apparently plagued with athletes who rig games for money, with new allegations surfacing.

Club Comunicaciones
Club Comunicaciones
Players from Argentine soccer team Club Comunicaciones celebrate a victory against Club Atlético Aldosivi. The team is under fire following allegations that at least two of its players participated in match-fixing. (Image: Copa Argentina)

At least two players from Club Comunicaciones, a third division (Primera B) soccer team, face allegations that they bet against their own team. The team recently won the Apertura Tournament of the Metropolitan B Tournament series. However, the players became targets after Club Comunicaciones lost 2-1 against Sportivo Dock Sud, one of the last games in the series.

The complaint that led to the allegations came from the players’ own team. One of their teammates questioned the attitude of the pair and the goals they allowed Sportivo to score. Even the team’s own head coach, Germán Cavalieri, knew something wasn’t right.

Both denied their participation in an illegal betting network. However, the club initiated a formal investigation. It then announced that it would release the players from the team.

Endemic Match-Fixing Sours Argentine Sports

The scandal has not reached an end, as a lack of evidence means the players don’t yet face formal charges. Still, the leaders of the Primera B are thinking of demanding that Comunicaciones publicly clarify the situation, even if there’s no proof.

An investigation is underway, but it may be a while before there are any conclusive results. In the meantime, the directors of Dock Sud publicly expressed solidarity with Comunicaciones and denounced any involvement in match-fixing.

The case resonated loudly at the headquarters of the Argentine Soccer Association (AFA, for its Spanish acronym). It is the second similar case in a short time. To date, an investigation has identified at least eight players from 20 clubs who have helped rig the outcome of games.

El Porvenir Gives Soccer Black Eye

A few months ago, several players of El Porvenir, a club that plays in the fourth category (Primera C) of Argentine soccer, before the justice for making bets against their own team. They threw games in order to ensure the bets paid off. As a result, the AFA expelled them from the organization.

In addition to the players involved, there was also a network of representatives and former players participating. These offered ongoing services or cash on the condition that the players agree to do their bidding when they asked.

As that initial investigation began, evidence surfaced of widespread manipulation. This led to details about some of the people allegedly turning athletes. Police conducted multiple raids, which provided them with more evidence to widen their net. The investigation continues as authorities try to determine how deep the illegal activity runs.

AFA Expands Exposure to Argentine Soccer

AFA hopes additional exposure to the country’s soccer games will help it stay in a good light. Only days after the Argentine National Team took down Estonia in a friendly match, with five goals from Lionel Messi, AFA announced a new agreement for the transmission of content. The organization is teaming up with OneFootball, a German media company.

As a result, the content and entertainment platform AFA Play will deliver Argentine soccer to fans in more than just Latin America and Spain. The agreement initially runs for two seasons and each game costs €1.99 (US$2.07) to watch.

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