If the annual report by Federbet on matchfixing created a buzz in the UK as England registered the worst record (13 fixed matches concerning mostly non-League games), Estonia goes under the spotlight of the organization of European casino owners and bookmakers, for a preliminary game of 2013 European campaign.
ESTONIA AND MATCHFIXING, A (UNFORTUNATELY) LONG TERM RELATIONSHIP
With Narva Trans in Europa League and their notorious precedents in the match fixing ‘business’, one would easily think that it’s the border city club we are talking about.
After all, the home fixture against Swedish side Gefle IF, ended 0-3 and was favoured by an opening own goal.
RdS wrote back then: ''One cannot simply blame bad luck if at 44´ Dubokhin deflects into his own goal a corner kick taken by Faltsetas: it is indeed an unlucky (but also goofy considering he back headed with the top of his head) circumstance, however comes after an half time when basically the visiting Swedes dominated in terms of game displayed and best chances.''
The game in A.LeCoq Arena was followed by an embarrassing 5-1 away in Sweden, when Narva played one hour one man light following Shesterkov red card on 30'.
However, it is not Narva Trans the report is talking about.
Under the section ‘Champions and UEFA’, a game of Nõmme Kalju is marked as ‘fixed match’ (click to enlarge):
If you still don’t believe your eyes, you are in good company as we had to rub ours several times before realizing it was about Nõmme Kalju home game against Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League third preliminary round.
RETROSPECTIVE VIEW OF THE GAME VIA OUR MATCH REPORT
Kalju and Plzen entering the pitch at A.LeCoq
Re-reading our match report for that game, Kalju suffered three goals from corner kicks.
It seems it was something that, Viktoria’s coach Pavel Vrba, studied thoroughly: ‘’We watched those corner kick situations from the two games Kalju played to HJK’’ declared the present-day Czech national team coach ‘'we noticed how they defend so we decided to implement something to turn these situations in our favour. We trained purposely for this’’
Captain Bärengrub was a fury that could not be stopped ‘’What we’re talking about? Four standard situations and we did mistakes, I cannot be happy at all!’’ said Kalju’s nr.5 upon leaving the press room at A.LeCoq Arena in altered state.
In the RdS ‘pagelle’, players’ evaluation, the worst was Ceesay, who committed a mistake on three of the four goals:
One step forward, two steps back. On the Viktoria’s opener he completely forgets about Cisovsky. On the second goal he is static and let’s another man run towards the goal along with Cisovsky. On the third, the ball bounces on his body and ends up in Duris feet. After half an hour, he gets a yellow card that will limit his performance during all the game.
What happened to last week hero? Needs a crash-course about man-marking on set-pieces.
Ceesay left the club in winter and had few tests in Finland before being signed by AC Kajaani, a Finnish second-tier (Ykkönen) club.
It looked indeed as a disgraceful performance by Nõmme Kalju, with several individual and team mistakes.
However, the inclusion of this game in the Federbet report casts a shadow over the genuineness of the final score that made happy those who bet on the ‘Handicap 2’ (Viktoria to win with at least with two-goal difference) and the ‘Over 3,5’ (more than 3,5 total goals scored). Bets that must have come aplenty considering the game has surfaced into the document from the international organization.
CONCLUSIONS AND COMMENT
Can we really think this game was fixed?
In the return game Kalju lost with another four-goal difference (6-2) after opening, surprisingly, the game. The gap between the two clubs was evident already at the ‘A.LeCoq Arena’ in Tallinn and confirmed in Plzen. Even though the goals came from set-pieces, the supremacy of the Czech side was never in doubt though favoured by the early lead (on 2’ minutes). Viktoria made it to the group stage of the Champions League, whereas Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk eliminated Kalju at the Europa League play-offs.
If Federbet has included this game in the blacklist, it can only be on a very sound piece of evidence showing an anomalous flux of bets on the abovementioned odds. An anomalous flux which, quite strangely, was not noticed by Betradar, the company working with the Estonian FA in tackling matchfixing in Estonia.