There are two forms of fixing. One is where the clubs fix matches and the second is the gambling fixing.
In gambling fixing, the gamblers will try to fix as many of the guys they possibly can. They fix all the players on one team, all the players on the other team, the coaches, the substitutes, the referee and the linesmen. They fix everyone.
Sometimes, the gamblers are happy if they can get three or four key players on the weaker team. I thought fixing had to be the stronger team – like with the Chicago White Sox in 1919. That’s not how most fixes occur. Most of the time the fixers target the weak team.
If I place 1 million euros on a stronger team to lose, the bookmakers wouldn’t take my bet. But If I put a big sum of money on the weak team to lose, people will take it. They expect it.
As a fixer, I can reach into a weak team, because they’re not paid as much. I can say to a guy, “Look you know you are probably going to lose anyway. Just lose by a few goals, go home, buy your wife a nice coat.” Some of these players can make as much money fixing games as they can in their normal playing career. They have long-term relationships with the fixers.
Most professional athletes (95 percent) have very short careers and are lucky if they play five to seven years. During that time, there is a really tenuous attitude toward the athletes. If you get injured, it’s your fault. It’s an unspoken attitude among players, management, coaches that if you break your leg, it’s your fault. They’re in a career that’s very short and can end very quickly.
What did really matter was how old the players were: once players passed the median age of 26, they began to take the money more often. They’re nearing the end of their careers. Maybe they’re married and now have kids to support. They’re just trying to get as much money as possible.
Declan Hill Author, The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime