A Strange Easter Derby. Traces of Corruption in the Football League in Slovakia (1918-1938)

Čudné veľkonočné derby. Náznaky korupcie vo futbale na Slovensku v medzivojnovom období

The author studies examples or rather just indications of possible corruption in football in Slovakia in the interwar period. As early as the beginning of the 20th century, the football was becoming a sport with the most massive spectator support. The enormous rivalry arose amongst the football clubs during various competitions and wins were sometimes to be achieved nearly at any price. Justified as well as unfounded accusations and evidence of backstage influences on football matches results by the means of corruption became quite early part and parcel of the football culture all around the Europe. The interwar Czechoslovakia as one of the most successful football countries of that times was therefore no exception. The author briefly describes the football domestification process and outlines the position that football gained in the social life in Slovakia. He gives several examples of corruption accusations in the football environment of the interwar Czechoslovakia. The biggest attention is paid to the case of alleged bribery of players in the Trnava football derby of 1934. Despite the fact that the match result stayed valid, some media brought information about bribery of the rival players by an official of one of the clubs. The author notes that even though bribery by the officials could not be proved, the pure atmosphere that was created around the case indicates that corruption practises such as backstage bargaining of matches' results were not quite unknown in the interwar Slovakia.