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The Big Fix: The Hunt for the Match-Fixers Bringing Down Soccer Hardcover – May 6, 2014

4.1 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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From the Publisher

Brett Forrest Explains the Origin of The Big Fix

'It all started in a bull session with Donnie Kwak, my editor at ESPN The Magazine. Donnie had been bird-dogging some soccer games that didn’t add up. He and I knew very little about match-fixing. But it didn’t take an expert to understand that when one national team beats another by a dozen goals, there’s probably more to the story. Was there ever. Once I began investigating the phenomenon of modern match-fixing—the manipulation of soccer games for the purpose of illegal betting—I didn’t get far before I realized that I was sitting on a grave and fundamentally important story that held implications far beyond sports. My two-year journey had begun. There’s nothing new about fixing. People have manipulated sporting matches since the beginning of organized athletics. Early on, motivation hewed to the political and the personal (let my team win in front of our hometown fans, and I’ll return the favor), and in some places and instances, it still does today. Gambling has also played a central role over the centuries, with the 1919 World Series a particular case in point. However, I learned quickly in my reporting that what’s happening now in soccer is unprecedented. And it might be unstoppable. I was lucky to encounter Chris Eaton early in my research. Eaton was the head of security at FIFA at the time. To me, he was instantly likeable, precisely in the ways that a bureaucrat would find him infuriating. Nearly everyone who had a stake in the game—FIFA execs, national soccer federation officials, players and coaches, sponsors—couched the scourge of match-fixing in apologetic terms. Or they avoided discussion of it entirely. Not Eaton. Whereas soccer administrators threw up their hands in resigned, falsely worldly understanding, Eaton approached match-fixing like the cop that he had always been. He wanted to map the crime, understand it, wipe it out. He appeared to grasp a fundamental truth that escaped others, that match-fixing threatened the game of soccer itself. After all, why do we watch the games? Because we don’t know how they’ll turn out. If we begin to believe, based on available evidence, that the sport is rigged, it stands to reason that our interest will fade. And what of the game then? Eaton was only half of the cops-and-robbers story, as it began to envelop me. The other half was Wilson Perumal, a shadowy figure squirreled away in Budapest, a guest of the local constabulary. Perumal, a Singaporean, was the most infamous match-fixer in the world. Understanding his story allowed me to peer into the sophisticated, underground world of the fixer and his backers in global organized crime. Perumal’s rise and fall and subsequent rise mirrored the evolution of the international gambling market, how the proliferation of the Internet and the growth of the Chinese economy very nearly reinvented gambling as we know it. Getting to Perumal himself provided its own adventure. When I explain modern match-fixing to people who are unfamiliar with it, I’m met with a uniform reaction: stunned silence, followed by a round of feverish questions. This is a shocking crime, particularly because it’s playing out right in front of us. How did it happen? Why does it continue? The Big Fix tells that story.'

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062308076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062308078
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,818,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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