Why are footballers taking bribes?
It’s very quick to see the recent news headlines about footballers taking bribes, and having the natural knee-jerk reaction that these rich players shouldn’t need the financial boost of a backhander to swing a game.
But we’re not talking about the multimillionaire Premier League stars here (though even I remember several top-level matches in the 90s where a player would get a yellow card very, very quickly, or the ball would be mis-controlled from kickoff and sent out for a throw in within ten seconds, both of which fit the spot-fixing betting patterns)
Sam Sodje and Christian Montano, two of the footballers identified in this, play for lower league clubs. Think of it from their point of view.
You’re working in a career that will probably last 10-12 years. You’ll have no doubt had dreams and ambitions as a teenager of being a top class player, but for whatever reason that hasn’t worked out and you’re now plying your trade well below the level you wanted to. Although you earn more than the average wage, you’ll be in a position where by the age of 33 you’ll probably be out of a job with no transferable skills to take into a new role somewhere.
If you’re lucky you may make it in a sideline within your existing business, maybe as a manager or a coach, but they are jobs that are few and far between, and for every club with twenty or thirty first team squad players, there’s only one manager and a handful of coaches, so the vast majority of footballers will move into something outside of football clubs
Apparently you can get up to £70k for a red card. Now, a red card could have a serious impact on the game that was being played, giving your opposition a one man advantage. But how about a yellow card?
Would you take £30k for a booking in a match? An action which, while illegal and immoral, probably won’t adversely affect the outcome of the match you’re playing in? I can’t condone it, but I can understand why people would do it.