Colombia Soccer on Trial After ‘Match-Fixing’ Video Goes Viral

Posted on: December 9, 2021, 05:49h. 

Last updated on: December 9, 2021, 08:31h.

Colombia soccer’s top tier has launched an investigation into possible match-fixing after footage of a game played Saturday went viral and threatened to shame the country’s national sport.

LLaveros v Union Magdalena
Llaneros, in orange and white, took on Union Magdalena on Saturday, pictured. But by injury time, some of their defenders appeared to stop competing. (Image: Today)

Second-tier club Llaneros was beating Union Magdalena 1-0 until the 95th minute, when the latter team scored twice in quick succession. Both goals were dubious, in that the Llaneros defenders appeared to make little effort to impede the Magdalena advance.

This was particularly true of the second, when defenders appeared to stand off to allow the opposition attackers to score. However, the Llaneros goalkeeper still appeared to be trying to defend his goal.

Wave of Condemnation

The result secured promotion for Magdalena into the top tier, the Dimayor League, or Categoría Primera A, at the expense of Fortaleza, who lost 2-1 at home to Bogota on the same night.

It could be significant that the two goals occurred deep into injury time. By this point, the Fortaleza game had finished, and the final score would have been known to a hypothetical match manipulator.

While footage from the game has provoked ridicule around the world, a wave of condemnation has been growing in Colombia since Saturday. Colombian President Ivan Duque called the incident “a national disgrace.”

As the video clip went viral on social media, Colombian Minister of Sport Guillermo Herrera went one further. He said it was an “international disgrace.”

“What we as Colombians have witnessed is nothing short of outrageous. It is … a matter that worries us greatly, and which reflects something that must be dealt with and resolved swiftly.”

‘Not Ashamed to Cry’

Nelson Flórez, the coach of Fortaleza, wept during a post-game press conference on Saturday.

“I am not ashamed to cry because I feel I have been robbed,” he said.

In an official statement, his team said the game should be annuled and Magdalena should be ejected from the Dimayor League.

We do not believe that this is a simple gambling matter but has a deeper undercurrent that we are sure the authorities and the players involved will confirm, respecting the due process applicable in this type of case,” read the statement.

Dimayor officials said this week they were keeping an open mind until the conclusion of the investigation.

“Despite the evident facts that all Colombians and the entire world have seen, we’re going to respect due process and we’re going to act within the regulations and statutes that we have here in Colombia as do FIFA,” Dimayor President Fernando Jaramillo said.