Tuesday, September 29, 2009

When we did the blog on Saturday around match fixing (see HERE), we didn't expect to be writing about it again so soon and certainly not the circumstances of it.

Match fixing allegations have always been rife in certain games played in Eastern Europe. You always tend to think that the game in Scotland is relatively clean, although there have been a few murmurs of dodgy results in recent years.

So it came as a huge surprise to me to read today about police investigating a complaint of match fixing in Saturday's Scottish Cup first round match up between Highland League side Huntly and East of Scotland team Hawick Royal Albert.

Now to many reading this, these team names will be unfamiliar to them to say the least. Let's be honest, these names aren't exactly household names in Scotland to many either.

For those that don't know them, Huntly are by far the better side and have recent Scottish Cup pedigree, including a recent test of East Fife in the competition. They should have won the game comfortably. It may have been a little tighter as Hawick had home advantage, but the borders side have lost 6 of their first 7 games this season and are firmly rooted at the bottom of their League. When I saw the 7-0 scoreline on Saturday, I didn't really think much about it apart from that the Highland side must have put together a pretty decent side again this year.

Claims have now been made though of several bets being made on this scoreline, at obviously very high odds, along with bets being placed on Huntly being awarded a penalty, which they opened the scoring with. After the event of course, you can analyse a lot of things to make things look suspicious, such as the goals conceded in the last ten minutes, but there is nothing concrete that has been found yet.

The SFA have already threatened sanctions and bans to anyone proved to have taken part in any wrongdoing and both sides have pleaded their innocence. Hawick have launched an internal investigation though and are going to be speaking to all their players about the allegations.

The fact that the police are involved already does step the seriousness of the whole situation up a notch from the start. It could take months for the investigations to be complete and in the meantime it's left a dark mark over the competition that's only just started for the season. Maybe I'm just naive, but I've been left totally shocked by it all.

If it's subsequently proved that there is any truth in the allegations though, then this mark will become a damaging stain to a game that has already taken a lot of his in Scotland this season.

As it stands, you can't help but be left wondering just how clean our house in Scotland is in this respect. Let's just hope that this isn't the tip of the iceberg of a more deep rooted problem.


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