Leading Article: Off the ball

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The Independent Online

Recent warnings from the FA's chairman, Lord Triesman, regarding the large debts of our top clubs at a time of financial crisis are timely. But is the FA in danger of letting in a goal at the other end of the pitch? We ask only because its response to the latest allegation of match-fixing – based on unusual betting patterns in the Far East earlier this month – smacks of complacency. The reach of the match-fixers has been proved time and again, so we would expect the FA to take the claim seriously.

Yet it emerged yesterday that the FA had still not even talked to the clubs named – Norwich City and Derby County – nor had it questioned the British-based spread betting company, Spreadex, which observed the suspicious speculation patterns. What is more, news of the investigation became public only because two Norwich MPs tabled parliamentary questions about its progress.

There seems to be a worrying lack of urgency in the FA's approach – and a dangerous lack of transparency. Don't football fans also have a right to know?

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