Early Doors

Why bother fixing an entire match?

Apart from the amusing allegation that Liverpool only managed to score one goal against a goalkeeper paid to let in three, yesterday's match-fixing 'bombshell' left Early Doors cold.

So, Europol is investigating a large number of games. And one of them was played at Liverpool, though it is the other team who are under suspicion.

OK...

It's not that ED doesn't believe match-fixing takes place, or that it's not worth looking into, but until you've finished investigating and you can say who did what, it really isn't that interesting.

Some sportsmen do things they shouldn't for money. We know this.

But a big announcement - handily enough, during the news vacuum of international week - in the middle of your enquiries, when the FA and Liverpool had not even been told in advance, strikes ED as a strange way to carry on.

The only thing that shocks Early Doors about this is the suggestion that people still bother trying to fix the result of matches.

Surely spot-fixing put paid to all that?

Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were banned for engineering no-balls at specific, pre-planned moments.

Their effect on the game itself was minimal - but not the money to be made from betting on them. And it might have been hard to detect had they not been set up by the News of the World.

You can bet on pretty much anything you want these days - so just alter a tiny component of the match rather than the entire thing. It's much easier.

If you're going to why go to the trouble of fixing something as difficult as a result when you can just boot the ball out for a throw in the first five minutes?

- - -

Talking of exotic betting opportunities, once again the Americans are way ahead of the curve. The following were genuine markets from Sunday's Super Bowl:

- Length of National Anthem, sung by Alicia Keys: over/under 130 seconds (Over won)
- Length of post-match hug between coaches John and Jim Harbaugh: over/under seven seconds (Under won)
- Beyonce's hair: Curly/crimped Evs, Straight 8/11 (Curly won)
- Colour of Gatorade dumped on winning coach: Yellow 13/10, Orange 3/1, Red 5/1, Blue 15/2, Green 10/1 (In a shocking twist, there was no Gatorade bath)

Football has not reached such crazy levels, but it probably should.

Here are some things Early Doors would like to bet on:

Pieces of chewed gum deposited in technical area by Sir Alex Ferguson.
None 50/1
One to three 5/4
Four to six 2/1
Seven or more 5/1

Age of first ball boy kicked
12 or under - 4/1
13 or 14 - 3/1
15 or 16 - 5/2
17 or more - 7/2

Duration of 'Sloop John B' chants
Under 20 minutes - 8/1
20-40 minutes - 5/1
40-60 minutes - 3/1
Over 60 minutes - 7/4

Empty seats at start of second half at Emirates Stadium
Under 1,000 - 33/1
1,001 - 5,000 - 6/1
5,001 - 10,000 - 5/2
Over 10,000 - 8/11

Uses of the words 'top', 'triffic' and 'bare bones' in Harry Redknapp post-match interview.
None - 50/1
One to four - 9/2
Five to nine - 6/4
Over 10 - 2/1

TV cutaways of Fernando Torres looking sad
None - 25/1
One to four - 100/30
Five to nine - 5/2
Over 10 - 4/1

Premier League owners to fail fit and proper person test
None - 1/33
Some - 25/1

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "There are silly people sometimes at football grounds. They give the rest of the Gillingham fans a bad name. I know Jordan, he's a tough lad. I don't want to comment on it too much but everyone's OK." Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth remains disappointingly level-headed after a fan leapt on to goalkeeper Jordan Archer in last night's League Two game.

FOREIGN VIEW: Real Sociedad's players were subjected to doping practices, according to the club's former president.

Inaki Badiola was around when the Liga club apparently struck off two doctors, Eduardo Escobar and Antxon Gorrotxategi, in 2008 because they discovered payments in the prior six years for products which were classified as banned substances.

Jose Luis Astiazaran, the Spanish Football League president, and a former president of the club between 2001 and 2005, has denied any knowledge of such doping claims.

Full story.