Soccer match-fixers spoke in elaborate codes

Croatian player Mario Cizmek was convicted of rigging games in Croatia's first division in 2010.
Darko Bandic/AP

At trials in Croatia and Turkey, police wiretaps revealed that those trying to fix soccer matches used elaborate codes to disguise what they were talking about. In Croatia, the code was based on food, women and cars; in Turkey, it was based on farming and construction terms.

From Croatia:

FOUR-WHEELED DRIVE - A fixed game that was rock-solid, its outcome assured.

GIRLS - A reference to police: "We have two girls on our tail.''

KEYS - Upfront bribes for players: "They won't sell the car without the keys.''

KULEN - A kind of local pork sausage that referred to a package of (euro) 1,000 (about $1,275) in payoff money.

MERCEDES - Games still in the process of being fixed: "The Mercedes is in the shop.''

PASSAT - A fixed game: "The Passat is ready to be picked up.''

PAPRIKA - Pre-game bribes.

From Turkey:

BUILDINGS UNDER CONSTRUCTION - Games in the process of being fixed.

CROPS BEING WATERED - Match-fixing payments to players or referees.

GOATS IN THE FIELD - Soccer players.

PLOWING, PLANTING and SOWING - Efforts by club officials to fix games.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.