Moss: My take on match-fixing

SPORT is about the contest and when that contest is brought into question it strikes at the very core of the game itself.

SPORT is about the contest and when that contest is brought into question it strikes at the very core of the game itself.

To wake to headlines on Tuesday morning outlining the extent of a world-wide match-fixing scandal engulfing football made for a very dark day in the sport-s history.

To think that some 380 games have been identified as being suspicious and probably connected to some form of match-fixing is simply mind blowing.

Players, coaches, administrators, supporters and yes, even punters want to be involved in a game because it is a fair contest.

Whether it-s Manchester United v Real Madrid in a Champions League match, Argentina v Bolivia in an under-age international or Chelsea v the Central Coast Mariners, the intrigue is in the fact that there are two teams headed into battle with fit players giving their all with a partial referee and assistants who are there to police the rules to the best of their ability. If one team is too good for the other or David gets the result over Goliath by fair means it-s happy days.

But to think that a player and/or match official has taken the field of play to purposely fix a match is disgusting and leaves a black mark against what is the world game - the beautiful game!

Of course those who have had involvement in football overseas have had their suspicions on occasions - or worse still been exposed to it - and the match-fixing scandal in Italy and now this have confirmed those suspicions.

Make no mistake this will rock the game. It-s difficult to say how hard and how deep the damage will go but the sport won-t come out of this type of scandal unscathed.

The face of cricket changed forever when match-fixing was exposed and found that one of its most upstanding ex-players - South Africa-s Hanse Cronje - was in it up to his eyeballs.

Having played and now coached professionally in the Australian domestic league I can honestly say I-ve never come across it in this country - either personally or via the rumour mill.

I feel very confident in saying that the A-League has not been touched by it but now is certainly not the time to be complacent about it - we need to be proactive to ensure it never sees the light of day in this country.

Those found guilty in this scandal must be banished from the game for life and have the full force of the law come down on them to at least serve as a deterrent to anyone remotely vulnerable to such activity.

Those charged with giving players, coaches, administrators and match officials jobs within the game must ensure those they employ are of the highest character and procedures are in place to alleviate any risk of the ugly side of sport infiltrating their organisation.

Let-s just hope and pray this is not just the tip of the iceberg!

On a much more positive note, the countdown to the start of our 2013 Asian Champions League campaign is well and truly on.

The first game of the group stage is against South Korean outfit Suwon Bluewings at Bluetongue Stadium on Wednesday 27 February. Tickets are now available at Ticketek or head to the Mariners website to purchase a special three-match pass to take in all our group stage home games.