Players admit match-fixing approaches

Nearly one in every three soccer players in Greece has been asked to fix a match, a survey presented on Tuesday by the International Federation of Professional Football Players (FIFPro) has shown.

The survey, conducted across 12 countries in Eastern Europe with the anonymous participation of more than 3,200 players, found that in Greece, 30.3 percent had been approached to participate in match fixing, while 47.2 percent said they were aware of fixed matches in their division.

Worse still, more than a quarter of players (26.2 percent) in Greece said they had found themselves on the receiving end of blackmail, with 69.5 percent naming their club’s administration as the culprit, while another 11 percent said it was their coach.

A similar rate (25.2 percent) said they had been forced to train by themselves by their clubs; in most cases this was apparently used as a form of pressure after the clubs had asked them to agree to an end to their contract.

Greece is Eastern Europe’s worst country in terms of violence against players, as 31.5 percent said they had been victims of acts of violence, with more than half of the cases involving fans and just over 14 percent involving club officials.

The FIFPro survey was conducted last September and October in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

Greece is second only to Montenegro in the percentage of players that are not paid on time (67.5 percent), with 13.3 percent of them having had to wait for money owed to them for at least one year.