Goodbye, Argentina. Sorry, I Won’t Be Shedding A Tear.

Posted on July 5, 2010


We’re all supposed to be weeping over the exit of Argentina from the World Cup. But this is not like the death of the All-Asians or the death of Freddy Mercury. This is not the death of the World Cup … at least not yet.

Of course it must be a very bleak time for the country’s 40 million population as they stoically face an uncertain future. They are not to be blamed — they didn’t choose the management or the players. I dare say the exit must also be disappointing for all the other football fans around the globe. But this is your fault for staying up so late to watch a match that was obviously orchestrated. I have little sympathy for anyone who ignored my advice and watched the match “because it’s real”. And when our backbenchers are done with their awful decision of legalizing sports betting, the English Premier League and the World Cup will look as stupid as wrestling.

There was a time when sports and football counted for something – clean competitiveness, promotion of peace and unity, etc. Today the demise of football, like most other sports is being blamed on gambling. This isn’t surprising. What is surprising is that after so many years of utter and absolute hopelessness, our backbenchers are now having thoughts of legalizing sports betting.

Maybe someone needs to be reminded why Malaysia’s league is in such a giant heap of shit. Let’s begin with 1999, which I think I’m right in saying was and still is the biggest football bribery scandal in the history of the game – 100 players were arrested and hauled in for questioning and a miraculous 90 percent of the league matches were reported to be pre-determined. Certainly, Malaysian football at the time (and probably still is) was the sport factory with a dirty bottom running right through the trust of their hopeful supporters.

When the Malaysian league was crippled, the bookmakers were horrified, partly at the lack of gambler’s interest in the league, but mostly by the extraordinarily interest in the English Premier League. Wondering how on earth could they influence and capitalize on one of the most expensive league in the world, they decided to turn to the football officials and technicians of the league. Only when a recurring problem seem to be too dubious and insight from the Asian Football Confederation surfaced did the English FA uncover the awful truth. Read the entire sabotage here.

Vincent Tan, owner of Berjaya Corp and believed – by me – to be the world’s largest consumer of onyx, says that legalizing sports betting will be the greatest solution to match fixing and gambling related scandals. Can you even begin to imagine the depths to which football will sink if we listen to his billion-dollar goal? Would legalizing sports betting really bring back football’s glory? Or would the illegal betting syndicates exist alongside the legal ones?

At most, a mere half of the illegal betting syndicates (mostly smaller ones) will be replaced with legal ones. The change of events would merely have the illegal bookies become more competitive. They will naturally lure gamblers away from the legal ones by offering higher payouts for instance. And those higher payouts are a sure fire certainty since illegal syndicates do not have to pay tax. At the end, we’re just making gambling more accessible, convenient and continue to be the prick of football’s bottom.

So lets be honest shall we? Legalizing sports betting is just a lame excuse of an idiotic-looking man whose hair is on back to front for the permission by cash-strapped Malaysian backbenchers to build what sounds like the single most ghastly development the world has ever seen in a Muslim majority populated country and what appears to be hell for football.

Back to the World Cup. Now, with Argentina gone, the bookies will be turning to Uruguay now. Like most South American players, they’re poor, love their families more than their football and recalls the brutal, day-light murder of Andres Escobar. And you’ll have no idea until something ridiculously illogical hits the headlines i.e. Germany 4 – Argentina 0.

I do think that in the fullness of time the World Cup will all end up in the hands of the rich Europeans – uninspiring, soulless, gutless, characterless white football from the Pacific Rim – as I am sure it’ll all be too costly to bribe anyone involved. But at least it’ll be honest.