Written by Branko ‘King Bronk’ Tomasović
In the background of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, a new match fixing scandal has erupted back home in Croatia. “Calciopoli”, a term synonymous with Italian soccer corruption, now has its Croatian equivalent: “Operation Offside.” According to the Associated Press, Croatian police have detained 22 individuals on suspicion of soccer match fixing. These individuals are primarily suspected of rigging the games of the domestic Croatian soccer league, better known as the Prva HNL. Furthermore, the Croatian Times reports that the police suspect that international soccer games may have also been compromised in this scandal. According to the Croatian police, profits for fixing these games ranged from $150,000 to $300, 000 Euros, per match. The investigation is still ongoing and it has not yet been determined exactly how many games were fixed.
What can be determined from these turn of events is that soccer corruption in Croatia is exceedingly widespread. As a result, the legitimacy of this year’s Prva HNL championship and previous championships must now be called into question. Which teams, players, coaches and officials were involved in this crime? How were this year’s championships and previous championships affected by these fixed games? How long has this been taking place? Is the Croatian National Team involved? Is Dinamo Zagreb or Hajduk Split involved in this to any degree? One might determine that large clubs like Dinamo and Hajduk do not need to fix games, due to their vast financial resources, when compared to their underprivileged counterparts. Such individuals will likely conclude that these clubs are not involved in this scandal.
The Croatian National Team is essentially comprised of well-paid players, playing abroad for international clubs. Thus, one might conclude that such players would never consider throwing a game. However, one need only look across the Adriatic to see that large clubs like Juventus, AC Milan and Lazio are not immune from this sort of activity, despite their financial superiority over other clubs in Serie A. Also, according to Goal.com, former FIFA President João Havelange, has made sensational claims that the 1966 and 1974 FIFA World Cups were fixed so that England and Germany would win. If we are to believe the former FIFA president’s claims, that teams like Germany and England are capable of fixing matches, what then, makes our national team immune from this sort of activity?
In conclusion, the President of the Croatian Soccer Federation, Vlatko Marković, needs to answer these questions to the many Croatian soccer fans around the world, who support both the Prva HNL and the Croatian National Team, before he retires, in order to restore credibility with fans. If he fails to do so, Croatian soccer will always be under a dark cloud of suspicion and his legacy as Federation President will be greatly tarnished. The direct consequence of not eliminating corruption from this sport is that disappointed fans will inevitably abandon the game they love. Without a doubt, there needs to be a complete and full investigation into all match fixing crimes in Croatian soccer, by both the Croatian authorities and the Croatian Soccer Federation. The guilty parties of these crimes need to be brought to justice for the good of the game, as well as its loyal fans.
serbs are out great to see a pack of trash supporters go out with the serb diving team if Italy go out you can head to Gaza for a diving comp.
ESPN is having a 30 on 30 special about the Colombian player that was killed because of his own goal. I think it's titled the Eduardo brothers. 30 on 30 usually has great hour documentaries. Stay tuned, and check it out. Should be a good watch.
I have no doubts Spain will be number one in their group. Still, a couple weeks ago when the Swiss were playing their friendlies an announcer stated that the Swiss team looked quite good, perhaps even good enough to beat Spain. When I saw the update on my phone I was shocked, and happy I threw down some cash money on the game. Boom. Thank you mr. sportscaster.
Duh, you already said this…
Oh, and Denis, it might not be a parked bus knocking out Spain in the next round but Brazil- if Spain come 2nd in the group…
I don't see the Swiss goal as a fluke, really. They had two excellent counterattacks that deserved at least 1 goal. The 2nd counter that ended up hitting the post was especially nice. Spains defending was poor and both Puyol and Pique have been beaten on the counter numerous times this past year.
Excellent example on "how to beat Spain", sad but true. However, it kills the game. I would love to see a Brazil-Spain final. They play the most attractive football. However, I'm afraid that one of these teams will get knocked out by some team employing the Jose Morinho bus strategy…. or worse yet, they meet in the round of 16..
If you want to see how to beat Spain, just watch the Inter and Rubin matches v Barca (and now Switzerland v Spain).
They're fantastic but they've no plan B (sending Pique up front in desperation doesn't count as a plan).
Btw, I'd love to have Hitzfeld as NT manager, but it would never happen.
Spain dominated the match, gave up a fluke goal, and need to win the group or they face Brazil in the second round. That would be something…
I still think Spain will find a way to top the group. Wins against Chile and Honduras don't seem that difficult.
The Cevape were overcooked and a little cold… I think they might have been tainted with something to prevent me from really playing hard. I took the bribe before I inspected the cevape…That'll teach me.
P.S. Holy shit Spain lost. And could this be the first time a host nation doesn't make it past the first round. I THINK SO
Stjepan Tomas was also spotted giving Goldenchild tips on how to hand the ball in the box then pretend that it was an "honest mistake"by protesting to the official while he gives the PK to the other team.
lol…thats funny. Markovic was spotted at the tournament gave goldnechild a big plate of Cevape and told him "Hey Mali…I have a 100 Kunas on the other team….you know what to do..*Wink*
You are due for another interview regarding the "bribe" you took in the Croatian Small goals tournament. Were the Cevape good at least?
All i have to say on this is good riddens to Medimurje and Sesvete. Good thing they were finally relegated. I'd hope that's the end of it as its a big drag on the new season. This news is too negative to put much time to. Theres a new season starting. These problems have to stop and police and HNS should get active on it, but i doubt Medimurje, Sesvete and Varteks would have achieved anything more with that group of players. Medimurje and Sesvete are relegated and whilst its not the fans fault those two sides can't hope to do much unless they change their board so should stay in hnl2.
I like some of the transfers passing around HNL1 sides and the fact that players are spreading out now is a good thing for the league. When Hajduk had a high concentration of players in their squad that didn't help. I expect us to spread our reserves out to other clubs. We've already sent two of our brightest talents to Lokomotiva for the new season.
If Ivan Bosnjak, Tomo Sokota, Dario Zahora, Mladen Bartolovic come to HNL1 next season to Zagreb, Cibalia or Rijeka it would be good for competition.
haha, 2 cevape? i don't blame you for taking that bribe.
I took a bribe in the Croatian Small goals tournament in pedro to throw the game.two cevape..there it is..i said it.
God I wish the world cup was more exciting right now, so we didn't have to talk about this. On the other hand, hopefully the world cup is saving the Croatian soccer federation a little face globaly, since its on the backburner in terms of soccer news.
Fixing is an ugly thing to bring to such a beautiful game. I hate it, but it's in all our sports. We can't get rid of it ever unfortunately.
Props brother…way to rock the boat and ask the tough questions!
Guys like you and these type of internet blogs I believe will change the world, maybe even croatian soccer to some small degree:)
Thanks for the well written article. You make quite a few excellent points regarding match fixing in Croatia. I appreciate you taking your time to write about something that you feel is beneficial to this website.
I for one believe that England '66 and Germany '74 were fixed. I also believe that on every level of football, whether it be Serie A, HNL, or world cup, there have been games that were fixed. So this means that none of this is news.
In a perfect world all of your questions in the second paragraph would be answered….. honestly. However, Croatia is corrupt from top to bottom. People in Croatia have more to worry about then "match fixing".
"Vlatko Marković, needs to answer these questions to the many Croatian soccer fans around the world, who support both the Prva HNL and the Croatian National Team, before he retires, in order to restore credibility with fans."
Do you think Vlatko cares about "credibility". Obviously, Vlatko has some part in all of this.
How about Stimac coaching NK Zagreb and having stock in Hajduk?
So now a dozen people got stung in this "new" sports betting scandal. What about those guys on the top? They will just find new people, new teams, and new games to set up.
"The guilty parties of these crimes need to be brought to justice for the good of the game, as well as its loyal fans."
I agree…. however…. this is only but a dream…
thanks again King Bronk… I'm interested to see how the rest of our followers feel about your argument.