Seventh tier Swedish soccer team cancels match after bookie allows public to gamble on game

Given the current lack of sports action, one could easily surmise that the desire to bet on anything sports-related has been built up to an all-time high. But in the lower tiers of Swedish soccer, proof of this phenomenon was found.

A friendly between two Swedish sides, seventh-tier Eskilstuna FC and eighth-tier Näshulta GoIF, had to be cancelled on Monday after a bookmaker allowed people to place wagers on the game. Apparently, that decision opened up the floodgates for people all over the world to contact people in both clubs to gather more information about the game — supposedly to make a more informed bet on a game in the doldrums of the sports world.

“All day yesterday people rang our players and staff,” the Eskilstuna FC chairman, Bengin Ozeran told fotbollskanalen. “They got in contact through social media. It was people from all around the world. They were saying things like ‘hope you lose’ or ‘good luck.’ There were more than 100 people doing it in under an hour. It’s been chaos. It was not a fun day.

“We decided to cancel the game for the players’ safety. You never know [what could have happened] after people started contacting the players. They even contacted a coach in the same division we play in to check how we play and how we have played in the past. People even got in contact with some of our former players and asked about our starting lineup. It was sick.”

In Sweden, gatherings of 50 or fewer people are still allowed, which is why this game was scheduled in the first place. But the abundance of eager attention changed things, and the Swedish Football Association agreed with Eskilstuna FC that the match should be shut down.

This reportedly wasn’t the first Swedish club to be on the wrong end of a bookmaker letting people put money down on them. Sixth tier AC Primavera received hate messages on their social media accounts after losing a friendly.

“It was after our game against BK Sport that it started to come in messages on our Facebook page,” the club’s chairman, Daniel Karlsson, told Swedish newspaper Eskilstuna-Kuriren. “People from abroad were abusive towards the club and, among other things, we were accused to have ‘fixed’ our own game and someone said they hoped we would die from coronavirus.”

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