Fighting match-fixing through literature

Finnish youth author and football fan Mika Keränen, a long-standing resident of Estonia, is the author of a book telling a story about match-fixing in football.

Book author Mika Keränen
Book author Mika Keränen ©EJL

Finnish youth author and football fan Mika Keränen, who has lived in Estonia for many years, has written a book which tells a story about match-fixing in football. The book’s original title is Maaliviivalla, which translates as On the Goal Line.

The plot takes place during the 90 minutes of a football match – from kick-off to the final whistle – and it describes a young goalkeeper’s experience of playing in a fixed match. The 18-year-old goalkeeper Kalle is excited when he finds out he is going to play his first top-division match, but his excitement is short-lived, as his coach informs him that in the 29th minute a penalty is going to be given against his team and he needs to let the opposition score.

Keränen said the idea for the book came out of frustration, because as a fan you would hear news about fixed matches and it felt as if honesty was lacking. As a writer he decided to address the topic.

“Another reason for writing the book was to try to make the world a little bit better. Young people who read the book will then be familiar with situations like that. If something similar comes up in real life, people might know how to act because they have already lived through it on the pages,” Keränen explained.

His past experience as a coach and referee helped him with writing about football. As an active fan, he follows his favourite teams.

The plot of the book is completely fictional, according to the author, who has lived in Estonia for 20 years:

“I want to draw young footballers’ attention to the fact that one day they might find themselves in the same situation as the main character and be ready for it. That’s why I would be happy if young people read the book.”

Keränen's book, written in Finnish and translated into Estonian, is available to the Estonian Football Association as a tool in its fight against match-fixing.

This article originally appeared in UEFA Direct No166