A CBC-TV investigative piece earlier this week looked further into a story that a Canadian Soccer League match was fixed and shone a light on the ugly world of high-stakes gambling.
It was proven in a German court in 2011 that Toronto Croatia threw its CSL game to the Trois-Rivières Attak in 2009. The CBC was digging further to see if there is any more match fixing going on and what the fallout was from the court case.
I covered the CSL for many years as London City, founded 40 years ago by the Gauss family, who recently sold the team, played in the league.
I contacted Ryan Gauss, whose grandfather Max began the team. Ryan’s father Harry ran it for many, many years and Harry was an institution in London soccer. Ryan took over the team after Harry died.
“I can say 100% (there was no game fixing) on my team,” Ryan Gauss said.
He said he was alarmed to hear about the Croatia-Trois Rivieres game. “It’s terrible. It’s a sad day for Canadian soccer. There’s a sense of greed.”
What Gauss is hearing now is that there was a player on an opposing team playing London City who claimed he was approached in London and offered a bribe to throw the game. The player said he didn’t take it.
This is what he is reported to have told Canadian Soccer News.
“I went to London, as I was saying, and I got approached by a gentleman to either score a hat trick or to make my team lose and I refused it.”
Sounds off to me because losing a game is one thing but being paid to score a hat trick? Not easily done at all.
Gauss said it was an unnamed player on an unnamed team making this allegation and he’s suspicious about the claims.
“How do you know if it’s even real?”
Gauss said his team had its share of losses. And of the games they won, he said, “I believe whole-heartedly we won because we deserved to.”
If there were lopsided scores over the years, Gauss said team rosters are always in a state of flux.
The Toronto Olympians at one point won 13 games in a row and then five of their players went to play in Greece, Gauss recalled. They lost several games after that.
I also remember the Olympians losing to the amateur London team, AEK. The teams were playing in the Canada Cup and there was prize money for the winners so it’s unlikely anyone would try to lose.
It is true that rosters are always changing in the CSL, considered a semi-professional league.
The CSL says on its website it is waiting for guidance from FIFA at this point.
Will be interesting to see where this goes.