Soccer scandal: Asian gamblers suspected in worldwide match fixing

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(CBS News) A new scandal is shaking up the sports world. This time, in soccer. There's a probe into matches that were allegedly rigged. The investigation doesn't single out any particular team, because the investigations are ongoing, but Asian gamblers are suspected of fixing hundreds of games.

It's an ugly turn for what is known around the world as "the beautiful game." Rob Wainwright, head of Europol, described an "extensive criminal network" involved in the alleged match-fixing.

The scandal is run, the police say, from the bookie shops of the Far East.

The popularity of the game in Asia has found the perfect partner in Asia's other favorite sport -- gambling. But it has arrangements with crime syndicates around the world. And the police have been keeping score. They've found 680 games where the outcomes were bent by betting, 380 of those games in Europe, the rest elsewhere in a total of 15 countries. At least 425 referees, club officials and players took bribes to affect the results.

So how does it work?

Soccer analyst Tommy Smyth, of ESPN, explained, "You see a guy 10 yards out from the goal. He misses the goal. People say it was bad luck or it was a bad shot. The problem now is when this guy does that, the person in the stand all of a sudden says, 'Was it a bad shot or maybe somebody give him a few bucks?'"

More than a few bucks, according to one anti-corruption body that says the betting on sports amounts to about $3 billion a day -- with most of that on soccer.

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