A crime that’s legal in la Liga

The midweek press from a beautifully sunny Spain sees mardy-bum Madridileños still moaning about Xavi’s sick-note from la Furia Roja and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal-produced ankle-knack.

But Marca’s Roberto Gómez is in as many minds as he has chins on the affair, with a rant on Tuesday that Madrid were fools for letting the midfielder travel to the Portuguese camp due to the risk of injury.

A day later he splutters that the club were fools for not letting him return to the Portuguese camp to watch Wednesday’s match, despite the risk to the eventual recovery of the aforementioned injury.

Over in Barcelona, and Joan ‘Joan’ Laporta is giving Silvio Berlusconi a run for his dubiously-earned money in the paranoia stakes.

Despite being the president of the most admired and successful club side in the world at the moment, the King of Catalunya still feels that everyone is out to get him because “they cannot stand the fact that the most Catalan Barcelona in its history has managed such success and they are making us pay for it.”

La Liga Loca feels his club’s marketing department is missing out on lashings of loot with their lack of Barça-branded silver foil beanie hats.

With juicy stories such as Raúl Tamudo being driven out of Espanyol and Joaquín Caparrós’ claim that there is no such thing as a gay footballer to come in Friday’s bumper blog edition, La Liga Loca has had to drop a division in search of some real cheesy sleaze.

And it wasn’t hard to find.

On a purely footballing front, the current second division table has the wonderful sight of Real Sociedad at the top of the tree after seven games.

Tied on points with the San Sebastian side are Cartagena who are having a remarkable season so far, considering....

a) the club has only been around 14 years.b) is playing for the first time in the second division.c) has Pascal Cygan in their squad.

Betis had made a sprightly start in their latest hell dimension, but all that has gone to pot of late with the fans revolting after three straight draws in the league and a dismissal from the Spanish Cup by Córdoba.

However, the Andalusian losers - still led by Darth de Lopera - are in 5th and just a couple of points between Rayo Vallecano in third.

And it is Rayo that has attracted La Liga Loca’s Eye of Sauron sized gaze after yet more scandal surrounding Madrid’s third team.

The side from the barrio of Vallecas last appeared in these pages with the wonderful story that one of its players, Carlos de la Vega, had been arrested in a drugs investigation and replaced by a defender called Coke.

This week, UEFA are reported to be investigating the club, along with Las Palmas, as their Round 41 league tie from the previous season is on the governing body’s 40 game, match-fixing dodgy list.

UEFA are basing their suspicions on these ties on irregular betting patterns.

And it’s a hunch supported by a claim from José Ramón de la Morena on a Spanish radio show on Tuesday night that a Rayo player went to a betting shop to put 3,000 Euros on a goalless draw - the eventual result of the tie between the two teams.

The match itself came at the tail end of the Spanish season and gave the Canary Islanders the point needed to survive in the Segunda A division and the Rayo goalkeeper the top stopper award.

The reaction from the Rayo camp on accusations of tinkering has been shock and denial, with manager Pepe Mel saying that “I don’t believe it, but if it is proven true and a Rayo player is implicated then he’ll be out in five minutes.”

Las Palmas say that they have received no news of any investigation, but club president Miguel Angel Ramírez admits that “we knew that the game was going to be studied because of how it went.”

Wednesday’s edition of Mundo Deportivo explains exactly what happened by reporting that “the game ended 0-0 with barely two shots on target and shouts of “friends forever” from the Las Palmas stands.”

If the investigation shows that match-fixing was involved in the affair then the punishment could be severe - in the “both squads spending the weekend with the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading team” sense of the word.

Mundo Deportivo reports that any guilty party would receive no more than a three point deduction as a slap on the wrists.

And this is because sporting fraud isn’t a actually a crime in Spain.

It’s a good thing too, says La Liga Loca, considering that if it was then there would be no-one left to either run the country’s clubs or governing organisations.

If this particular case goes the same way as supposed investigations into accusations of match-fixing in three second division encounters from last season, then absolutely nothing will happen.

Spain’s minister of sport, Jaime Lissavetzky told Marca that “I’m not the one who knows whether Spanish football is clean or not.”

He - like everyone else in the game here - doesn’t appear to be that inclined to discover the answer to that question.


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