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Fresh allegations of politics influencing (fixing?) World Cups

Apr 25, 2013, 1:02 PM EDT

Argentina 78

Fresh allegations of politically influenced chicanery have been aimed at globe’s most prominent sporting tournament, the World Cup.

Two world titles, in 1934 and 1978, were captured with the help of dictators, according to a FIFA-hosted conference on World Cup history.

Professorial types have red-flagged Argentina’s 1978 win and Italy’s 1934 victory. Details of the fresh allegations are in the link above. So, were these massive wins influenced by dictators seeking propaganda points?

As for 1934 … Well, the world was a crazy place then, in the midst of worldwide economic depression and about to slide off into a darker place still, the lunacy and wasteful horror of World War II. Plus, the World Cup was so new then, nothing resembling the iconic property it would become.

So, let’s just give that one a pass for now.

On the 1978 allegations, let’s just say this isn’t the first time such a thing has been said. This piece is titled “The shame of Argentina 1978,” if that gives you some idea.

Going all the way back to 1986, when the Sunday Times out of the UK flew the first accusatory sorties of high-level duplicity, connections between Peru and host Argentina have been looked upon with a damning brow.

And the final between Netherlands and Argentina has long been a target for conspiracy theorist, mostly based on perceptions of lopsided refereeing. (Adding accelerant to the conspiratorial fire was this: Argentine officials twisted FIFA arms on the choice of referees, getting the respected first choice, Abraham Klein, tossed out in favor of Italian Sergio Gonella.

This extensive piece from the BBC has all the wonderful (or wonderfully shameful) details of juntas, threatened boycotts, attempted kidnappings and the sorry gamesmanship that preceded what should have been a great final between two talented teams in Buenos Aires that day.

  1. krazymunky - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    I think most people now just assume anything FIFA related has some sort of corruption/fixing involved

    • Steve Davis - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      Well, yes and no. Generally speaking (in my opinion) people have long given up on procedural matters of TV contracts, venue awarding, group draws, etc., as you suggest. But I think there is still some hope that matches and the actual competition on the field has maintained some integrity. Or, maybe I’m being naive and underestimating fans’ general cynicism?

      • krazymunky - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:07 PM

        Certainly Venue awarding. and maybe group/bracket drawing.

        Competition on the field (especially in top divisions) we hope there is no fixing…

      • mvktr2 - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:10 PM

        Being naive is believing that match-fixing isn’t a common occurance. As recently as the late 1990s the fbi suggested that approximately 3% of all college backetball games with a spread of 13 or more points involved points shaving. That’s thousands of games, several hundred per year. Soccer, football, baseball, they’re no more immune. The real suckers are the idiots laying bets on sports.

        Fwiw I’m a huge proponent of MLS seeking avenues to increase betting as it would grow the league’s viewership faster than most anything else. It’s one of the chief reasons for the NFL’s success as well as other n. american leagues.

  2. scoocha - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Soccer is all about cheating, wouldn’t surprise me. But let’s worry about future, who cares about 1934 WC when they were playing with a square ball.

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