FIFA to investigate match fixing during 1914 Christmas Day international
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has announced that the organisation is to launch a ‘root and branch’ investigation into claims that British servicemen were involved in ‘match-fixing’ against Germany, during a hastily arranged international on Christmas Day in 1914.
In a bid to clean-up the reputation of world football, a 17-man team will visit Barbados to look into claims that infantrymen Ron Snode and John Smith, from Hinckley conspired to give away corners, free-kicks and at least two penalties during a second half spell, which saw Britain lose a commanding 4-0 lead.
‘At this stage we believe that several “gifts” were exchanged from both sides prior to kick-off and after full-time, such behavior is highly unethical’, said Blatter, who is overseeing the investigation. ‘Evidence suggests that one British soldier received a package in return for scoring an own goal in stoppage time. A letter he sent home just a week later tells of his disappointment at only receiving a stale cracker, when others were lucky enough to receive money and even chocolate’.
Living relatives of the two men are adamant that it was merely over-coaching and an inability to be comfortable on the ball that saw the Germans eventually run out 7-4 winners. ‘There is no way a family member of mine would accept bribes to throw a game, especially from a German’, claims Rebecca Snode, great granddaughter of the celebrated WWI soldier.
‘He was a well-respected and celebrated man who fought for our freedom, so we’re extremely offended by these allegations. We have all of his WWI memorabilia here, including photos of loved ones he carried on the battlefield, a hip flask, and a carefully stashed brown envelope containing 400 used papiermarks which he got from a friend for Christmas’. J Sainsbury PLC, who allegedly sponsored of the wartime match, have declined to comment.