Match-fixing is a many splendored thing. As time goes on, gamblers, crime bosses, players and club officials find more and more creative ways to do the dumbest stuff.
The latest occurrence in France is particularly special. This week, club officials were arrested under suspicion that they exchanged gifts to affect the outcomes of games. According to L’Equipe, last season Nîmes (Ligue 2) club president Jean-Marc Conrad and recently promoted Ligue 1 club Caen’s chairman Jean-Francois Fortin arranged a mutually beneficial 1-1 draw in exchange for a few cases of wine. French authorities obtained the information through a series of wire taps.
According to today’s reports, those wiretaps revealed an agreement between the clubs — one aiming for promotion, the other hoping to avoid relegations — that was finalized two days before their meeting on May 13. The wine was to delivered by halftime.
Way to France it up, France. Stereotypes are something we all deal with. Maybe there are certain foods you’re shy about eating in public, or music you hate being automatically associated with. Individuality over nationality or ethnicity is a real stuggle.
Not for these guys. When you’ve reached the level of being the president of a top-flight club, you don’t care about such petty matters. You’re a proud Frenchman that uses wine as currency, because cash wouldn’t be de rigueur. That’s real freedom.
The arrests were made as part of a much larger investigation into corruption in French soccer, one that included at least three other Nîmes matches. Dijon (Ligue 2) coach Olivier Dall’Oglio was also arrested in connection with the wine traders.
In a separate investigation, Olympique de Marseille president Vincent Labrune, director general Philippe Perez and former president, Jean-Claude Dassier were all arrested and brought in for questioning in regards to the legality of recent player transfers.
Caen director general Xavier Gravelaine has denied any wrongdoing by his club and was quick to throw Nîmes under le bus.
“What drives me crazy is that our club is soiled by a case it has nothing to do with … “
“The problem is not football, it is Nimes.”
Should the club officials be found guilty, the French league has stated that their respective clubs could face possible expulsion. Over wine.