Strugglers face lie-detector to allay match-fixing fears
HEARD the one about the team forced to take lie-detector tests in order to prove how honest they are with their efforts?
Czech outfit FC Brno are having a miserable season and lie second from bottom of the league. And so annoyed is their owner Roman Pros that he has ordered the players to undergo a polygraph test to allay concerns that they have been throwing games.
The problem of match-fixing is serious in Eastern Europe and it's not unusual for teams to come under suspicion when they are doing particularly badly.
"We need a proper analysis of the situation," said Pros. "Then we can say 'okay, we are playing rotten football because the players are not in shape, the coach did a poor job or the tactics were wrong'. But we'll know for certain that match-rigging was not involved."
So serious is Pros about his club's reputation that the use of lie-detector tests will be included in the club's code of conduct, meaning new players will have to take one when they sign, while current players will have them included as part of any new deal.
Understandably, the Brno players have reacted with shock at the news, with defender Jan Trousil saying: "We were all taken aback. The mood is stormy, the team feels very badly about this. We consider it rather degrading."
We're not sure if the idea will catch on across Europe, but can you imagine if it was introduced in the Premier League? Every time an Arsenal player is hacked down and the fouler protests his innocence, Arsene Wenger can immediately call for a lie-detector test. It might keep him quiet for a while at least.