Feb 12, 6:16 AM EST
Soccer faces epic fight against match-fixing
By SHEILA NORMAN-CULP
ZURICH (AP) -- Soccer is falling under a cloud of suspicion as never before, sullied by a multibillion-dollar web of match-fixing that is corrupting increasingly larger parts of the world's most popular sport.
Internet betting, emboldened criminal gangs and even the economic downturn have created conditions that make soccer - or football, as the sport is called around the world - a lucrative target.
Known as "the beautiful game" for its grace, athleticism and traditions of fair play, soccer is under threat of becoming a dirty game.
"Football is in a disastrous state," said Chris Eaton, director of sport integrity at the International Centre for Sport Security. "Fixing of matches for criminal gambling fraud purposes is absolutely endemic worldwide ... arrogantly happening daily."