Two huge match-fixing rumours, punishments and the aftermath
I made some pretty strong allegations in Off The Chest - essentially that match-fixing has happened in the Premier League. Everyone knows about the floodlight scandals but I'm talking about players. I want to write about two rumours that have not gone away. The first is well known, the other might be of interest.
1) Kieren Fallon
Here is the famous video of Kieren Fallon riding Ballinger Ridge. As you can see, he is a considerable distance clear and drops his hands, allowing his horse to get beat on the line.
The evidence surrounding his case was enough for him to be suspended but he was later acquitted. They had suspicious phone calls leading up to the race, contact with Miles Rodgers and Fergal Lynch, Betfair records and of course the race footage. People have been convicted with far less. Within the trial it was pointed out that Fallon rode in a such a way that it should be considered suspicious:
"There is no legitimate reason why Mr Fallon would need to be looking back and steadying his horse down with a furlong to go" - Jonathan Caplan QC
Kieren Fallon is arguably one of the most talented jockeys of all time. If he wanted to get away with a race, he could have easily, just as Ronnie O Sullivan could chuck a frame (not an accusation!). So there must be a reason as to why he risked detection. The main conspiracy theory is that Fallon was in debt to an Irish godfather for untold amounts of money. He was instructed to chuck the race in this fashion as it would yield the most profit from an in-running lay. Fallon was made to ride Ballinger Ridge in this way. The horse, though not favourite, had a good chance of winning (15/8) and could at least be in the position to trade lower than its starting price. It just so happened that he was able to stretch clear into 1.01 territory. I was told these rumours some time ago but it came along with other unsubstantiated and vague claims of 'he's a complete wrong'un' etc. There's no smoke without fire and Fallon was later banned for substance abuse.
The lack of proper investigation for the criminal court sends an important message to match-fixers. The risk IS worth the reward. And when this tipping point is reached, we get a sport as corrupt as (UK) racing. He wasn't even banned from racing in Ireland. The barriers to entry are minimal (you need only own, train or ride a horse) and have a betting account or know someone who does. It is not as complicated as owning a football club or approaching what would have to be several players/the referee. Only recently Michael Chopra was banned from horse racing for life for fixing races and he's a footballer (no comment)!
The BHA could have banned Fallon for life. In 2007, they stated:
“The British Horseracing Authority will now review all the available evidence presented in the criminal trial to determine if there have been breaches of the Rules of Racing that would require it to take disciplinary action. This will be done as a priority and, we trust, with the full co-operation of those involved in the police investigation.”
Their burden proof is less but they chose to not admit that their sport was (is) crooked to the core. The second most famous jockey (after Dettori who is clean!) appears to have been fixing races, caught with cocaine and is still riding in England. Try stopping an apprentice who is offered ten times his monthly take-home to 'ease one down' from the places in a Class 6 at Southwell.
I cannot name the player who is rumoured to have been involved in spot-fixing in the Premiership for legal reasons. This player is a known high-stakes bettor/whale and was in debt to a bookie for close to a million (just like me in Off The Chest). It is said that the bookmaker kindly offered the player a get-out. All he had to do was be sent off.
The bookmaker could profit in three ways from this knowledge:
a) Lay the player's team (or back the opposition) and hope for the best with the opposition having a man advantage
b) Buy booking points and sell time of red card on Sporting Index and Spreadex
c) Lay the player's team (or back the opposition handicap) for extremely large amounts (undetectable for this level of game). When the player is sent off, the odds are at a level that a hedge can be executed for a small percentage profit but the profit figure would be over a million.
Did the player get sent off? Here you go. For your peace of mind, the player is reported to have cleaned up his act.