Javier Tebas, head of professional football in Spain, stated on the BBC’s World Football show that at least eight matches in La Liga and Segunda División, Spain’s top two leagues, are fixed every season. Tebas said he believed the problems were coming from an “international mafia”, and called for lifetime bans for players found to be involved in manipulating matches. If a player is not involved, but knows about the match-fixing and does not report it to authorities, that player will face a three-year ban from football. Serious punishments are necessary, Tebas believes, because “if we do not eradicate now, it will become like the Wild West with no laws, no control.”
This is not the first time in recent months that claims of match-fixing in Spain have surfaced. Last May, the Spanish Football League opened investigations into the possibility of a match between Levante and Deportivo La Coruna was rigged. Augusto Cesar Lendoiro, president of Deportivo La Coruna, denied his side were involved in fixing the game, but also claimed that match-fixing was widespread in Spain.
Italy, of course, are the nation most (in)famous for match-fixing, with the 2006 Calciopoli scandal still fresh in most fans’ minds. Just last month, El Salvador banned 14 players for life for their involvement in rigging matches. Now Spain’s problems are surfacing. As international betting syndicates continue to grow and strengthen, it seems we’ll be hearing more and more about fixed matches throughout the world.
FA Cup slate set as Liverpool, Newcastle, Saints win
The field is set for the fourth round of the FA Cup, as Newcastle United, Liverpool, and Southampton joined 29 other teams in the fourth round.
Newcastle United 2-1 Birmingham City
Matt Ritchie scored twice and Yoan Gouffran also scored as the Magpies clinched a trip to third-tier side Oxford United. David Cotterill scored in the 71st minute to provide an interesting finish, but Newcastle weathered the storm.
Jurgen Klopp chose another youth-heavy lineup, but a pair of Premier League vets got the job done for the winner. Philippe Coutinho assisted Lucas Leiva‘s 18th mintue goal to give the Reds a home date with Wolverhampton.
Divock Origi had a late penalty saved by Luke McCormick, but it didn’t come back to haunt the Reds.
Southampton 1-0 Norwich City
Saints got a much-needed albeit ugly win when Shane Long won a tussle in the box to score a stoppage time winner. Southampton will host Arsenal in the fourth round.
Derby County vs. Leicester City
January 28 Liverpool vs. Wolverhampton
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Wycombe Wanderers
Oxford United vs. Newcastle United
Lincoln City vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
Chelsea vs. Brentford
Rochdale vs. Huddersfield Town
Burnley vs. Bristol City
Blackburn vs. Blackpool
Middlesbrough vs. Accrington Stanley
Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City
Southampton vs. Arsenal
Millwall vs. Watford
Fulham vs. Hull City
Sutton United vs. Leeds United
“Jermaine is a winner who has experience in MLS and playing against the highest competition in the world,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach Curt Onalfo. “He has a relentless engine on the field and we are confident that he will strengthen our midfield. We look forward to him joining the Galaxy as we prepare for the upcoming season.”
When healthy, Jones remains a game changer at the MLS level. He was not healthy often during his season in Colorado, but the Rapids did not lose a regular season game in which he hit the pitch.
Given the amount of buzz surrounding Lyon’s supposed interest in Memphis Depay, it’s no surprise this one got done.
The Ligue 1 side has agreed to buy the Manchester United winger for a fee that will range between $20 and $27 million. Reports claim the Red Devils have both buy back and sell-on clauses inserted in the deal.
Memphis was purchased for approximately $30 million from PSV Eindhoven in May 2015. That was hot on the heels of a 22-goal season that paced the Eredivisie.
After scoring two goals for United in his second appearance for the club, Memphis managed just 7 in 45 appearances. He hasn’t scored in seven matches this season.
Memphis has 27 caps with five goals for the Netherlands, and it’s hard to imagine he won’t reinforce his status with a prolific spell in France.
Lyon is fourth in the Ligue 1 table, eight behind third place PSG and 11 points back of leaders Monaco and Nice. The club is in the Round of 32 for the French Cup, and meets AZ Alkmaar in the UEFA Europa League.