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Why the fuss? Fixing has been with us since dawn of crime; BETS NO CHANGE.

Byline: Garry Owen

NEWS that there's been a bit of jiggery-pokery in the football betting world should not surprise any battle-weary punter who's been in the business for more than 15 minutes.

Who'da thunk it? As my cousin Cleetus used to say.

As usual the media has created a tsunami when most of us would describe it as a ripple on a carp pond.

I must confess to a wry smile at 'Outraged of Oxgangs' and 'Distraught in Dunfermline' who can't come to grips with the fact there's crookery in our national sport. Where have you been all your lives? Living in a cellar!

Whenever there's a chance to turn a dishonest coin there's gonna be moral depravity. You don't need a masters in pyschology to understand the motive behind 'Buster Keaton' - that's cheating to you and I. From snooker players who can't add up their break but can count their bung, to the jockey who misjudges his finish, corruption will always be there, and that's something punters just have to live with.

Since the dawn of striking bets, back when Biggus Bookimus coined it in in the Colosseum circa 80AD, some gambles get the thumbs up - most though, thumbs down.

Fast forward 2000 years and very little changes. In 1919, the Chicago White Sox/Cincinnati Reds World Series was one of the biggest sports scandals ever. Joseph Sullivan paid eight White Sox players $10,000 each to fix the outcome.

Even chaps who play cricket are bent, South African captain Hansie Cronjie allegedly threw a match against India during a Test in Kanpur. He was said to have been squared away with PS65,000 by an Indian bookie.

Whether you're Ben Johnson flying to Olympic Gold in 1988, or Lance Armstrong winning the Tour de France, I don't give a flying syringe. They had an option, racehorses don't.

The latest stooshie surrounds alleged match-fixing in which some chancer claims he was paid PS70k to get sent off in a League One match. If these 'Asian syndicates' can pay him PS70k, what are they making out of it and, importantly, where are they getting their money on? The floodlights scam in the 1990s did shed some light on how far they would go to get a coupon up. With a security man bunged PS20k and profits of PS3m suggested, it all ended in tears as the Old Bill collared them.

The current flap has seen Culture Secretary Maria Miller call a summit this week with governing bodies of football, tennis, cricket, both rugby codes, and representatives from the British Horseracing Authority. It's understood the purpose of this was to share best practices between the sports on preventing fixing.

Now, call me auld fashioned, but I'm happy to see anyone found guilty of match/race fixing, or administering drugs to horses, given a fair hearing.

They should then be given a life ban, taken to the nearest lamppost and strung up with piano wire, their preserved head, dipped in tar and placed on a pike atop London Bridge.


IN A FIX Ben Johnson wins the 100m in Seoul, main pic, and, inset, the Colosseum
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 12, 2013
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