Was Last Year’s UEFA Cup Fixed?By: The Offside | October 1st, 2008
Before this goes too far: The claims that Zenit St. Petersburg’s UEFA Cup win was bought are being made by Russian mafiosi. Hardly the most reliable types when it comes to truth telling and a faction well known for embellishing their dirty deeds for the sake of building their reputation and aura. Also worth mentioning that there hasn’t been any reports of a link between the gang and Zenit aside from residing in the same city. Nonetheless, it makes for a pretty interesting read.
The newspaper ABC said Gennadios Petrov, head of a powerful Russian underworld gang, and one of his cohorts said they used between 20 and 40 million euros to “buy” the semi-final and the final, according to a telephone conversation intercepted by Spanish police.
They aren’t saying who they bought, either that or it hasn’t been released, but the obvious parties would be the Bayern & Rangers suits. That brings up two problems though:
i. Bayern doesn’t need the money; and even if so, perhaps more valuable would be the complete restoration of their image after being embarrassingly forced into the UEFA Cup as it were (not to mention being heavy, heavy favorites).
ii. Rangers played as they’d always played: for PKs.
Would they have needed 20-40m to buy off the refs? Hardly. Nor were there any egregious refereeing faux pas that turned either result. You could point to the Bayern players for that surprising 4-0 loss, but just one round before they kicked open the floodgates in the back as well, giving up 3 to Getafe after the Spaniards had their best player sent off in the 9th minute. If you want to dig deep for the inexplicable game, I’d start there long before discussing an always difficult trip to St. Petersburg. Anyone else that could swing the game? Doesn’t seem that way.
Add if you happened to miss the game versus Real yesterday or the Super Cup against ManU, Zenit didn’t need to cheat to win last year. They’re just damn good.
So we can probably chalk this up to the bragging of some Russian gang types. Who would’ve thought?