Around the world, soccer is one of the most heavily-regulated sports. A common target for match-fixing and other crimes, sports bodies work hard to protect the integrity of the sport. In Canada, however, some soccer leagues are quite susceptible to match-fixing, falling victim to the crime.
According to a recent report by the CBC, the Canadian Soccer League has been targeted by match-fixing criminals. After examining hours of surveillance, local authorities discovered that match-fixing syndicates targeted the league. In interviews with the CBC, many athletes confirmed that they had been approached about conspiring. The CBC also interviewed the crime syndicate’s lawyer, who explained why the group target the CSL:
"It’s easier to fix a game in the lower leagues, there’s less control, less attention to those games, plus the players earn less so they’re easier to compromise for money," he said.
In the CSL, players commonly make $5000 per year, since they only play weekend games. So, match-fixers believe that these players are easier to manipulate. In some cases, they assumed correctly. One particular case saw a syndicate member allegedly bribe veteran CSL player Antonijo Zupan, giving him $18 000 to fix a game. According to reports, he had agreed to ensure that his team lost by two points, so that those who were in on the scheme would be able to cash in.
Zupan denies the claims; however, he is just one of many athletes that has been accused of such a crime. Canadian authorities are still investigating the crime, and we will keep you updated as the story develops.