A sideways look at Spanish football
Normally, match-fixing allegations in Spain only come to light about two after the games have taken place and it’s far too late to do anything about them, not that there was ever any will to probe them in the first place.
But ever since it became an actual banged-to-rights, ‘ello ‘ello’ ‘ello, take down your particulars crime at the end of 2010 - LLL was as surprised as anybody to discover it wasn’t one in the first place - those running the game in Spain have become a little bit faster to the draw when it comes to investigating potential naughtiness involving the mythical ‘suitcases’ of cash used to ‘encourage’ teams one way or the other at the end of the season.
The third-to-last round of la Liga matches kicked off on Tuesday - although technically it’s round 20 due to August strike business - with stories of skullduggery rumbling in the background. A representative for the Spanish League (LFP) told radio station Cadena Ser that “three weeks ago, we met with the official state authorities to report our concerns on this (match-fixing) theme and we gave them a press dossier.”
Although no specific report has been made against any match, Javier Tebas, says that “there are seven or eight games each each season where there could be an agreement to predetermine the result.”
This all comes at the same time as a journalist for another radio station, COPE, has made accusations that Sporting’s 3-0 victory at Espanyol on Saturday may not have been completely out of the blue. It’s an allegation completely denied by both clubs, with Sporting president Manuel Vega-Arango claiming his club are already looking into legal action and that “we are a modest club in economic terms but very big in terms of our supporters who don’t deserve this.”
But Sporting will have to park this controversial bus for a day or so, as the team have a season-defining game against Villarreal kicking off at 20:00 on Tuesday evening, local time. Sporting are currently second from bottom on 34 points, with the Yellow Submarine two places above them on 38. A defeat and it’s probable all over for Sporting. A win and it’s ‘get in’. A draw and LLL is not too sure what will happen, with Villarreal still facing two eminently losable games against Valencia and Atlético Madrid.
At the time of writing, the latest score flash from Getafe’s midday kick-off is 1-0 against the already relegated Racing. That leaves one more match being played on Tuesday at 18.00 with Granada hosting Espanyol. Again, it’s not one that exactly tickles the ivories, but a win for the Andalusians should see the side reaching the survival point mark, which is quite a remarkable achievement for a team that was expected to be going straight back down to la Segunda.
Tuesday PredictionsGetafe v Racing - Home win (Ed - The game ultimately finished 1-1, sorry)Granada v Espanyol - Home winSporting v Villarreal - Draw
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