Three club presidents, seven coaches, 52 players from diverse places such as Brazil, China, Italy, Ghana, Argentina, Portugal, Mauritania and Spain. All in one season at Club Deportivo Eldense, a 96 year old institution who even managed to grace the second division in their day, being run by an Italian financial consortium. This is what the Segunda B has become, a category that has been left standing somewhat by the Spanish FA. Empty, crumbling stadia and ripe for any unscrupulous profiteer to exploit. I genuinely hope the fallout and arrests from the Eldense case prompts further continued action.
8-0 at the break
The lid was lifted on the case due to the bravery of Mauritanian player Cheikh Saad, a lad who is involved in the game for the right reasons and after seeing what unfolded before his eyes on Saturday (Eldense trailing suspiciously 8-0 at the interval) he spoke out. Why wasn't this picked up earlier after a glut of bets being placed on this exact halftime scoreline? Tebas explained to me that those behind the ruse are now betting on the scoreline with the game underway which is apparently harder to detect and the bench passed on the message of what the scoreline should be at the break to those involved players all in a short space of time.
Football is not like that
Tebas and the governing authorities feel that other 2B clubs may have been involved in similar stunts that went undetected in the past. A starting point in any investigation are clubs with outside investors who have a revolving door policy with constant movement in and out of squad members. The objective apparently is not to aim for promotion but make easy money in manipulating results. This is sadly a common practice in some South East Asian leagues and appears to have made a foothold in the Spanish 2B and third divisions. Coincidentally, Tebas has written a book titled ‘El fútbol no es así’ (football is not like that) which focuses precisely on this phenomenon and it's worth a read. Incidents such as Saturday's episode in Barcelona only serve corrode the game of football. The people of Elda have responded positively to the incident, all with the sole aim of protecting the good name of CD Eldense.