Imagine if the Premier League title race was fixed. Not by corrupt players or match officials in the pay of gambling syndicates, but by an unholy alliance of Premier League executives and club owners keen to heighten the drama, thereby increasing television audiences and revenue.
That, in a nutshell, is what Brian Tuohy claims is happening in major sports in the United States. He alleges that those who run Major League Baseball, American football, basketball, ice hockey and even Nascar racing regularly manipulate results.
Tuohy cites many examples where he claims the fix was in. He suggests that the New England Patriots were allowed to beat the St Louis Rams in the 2002 Super Bowl, one of the biggest upsets in the event's history, because the NFL were "attempting to capitalise on the nation's unfettered patriotic sentiment" in the wake of 9/11.
He alleges that Jeff Gordon, driving a car festooned with Pepsi logos, was gifted a win in the 2004 Pepsi 400 to please the sponsors, one of numerous Nascar races decided, he claims, via biased scrutineering and dubious deployment of safety cars. He even claims that baseball club owners, financially damaged by the 1994 players' strike, approved of their batters bulking up on steroids from then on because they produced more home runs and therefore more excitement, bums on seats and TV earnings.
The trouble is that, while Tuohy's arguments are persuasive, he fails to produce one shred of hard evidence to back up his accusations, which is surprising given the thousands who must have been involved if the various conspiracies did in fact exist. But that's the joy of conspiracy theories: believers say the lack of proof just shows how clever the cover-up has been.
Nevertheless, a cautionary tale for our times.
Published in paperback by Feral House, £12.99Reuse content