ZAGREB, Croatia — Soccer player Mario Cizmek thought it would just be one match. Ease up and let the other team win, he told himself, then collect the payoff and start paying off your debts.
But the broke and desperate athlete soon learned that one match wouldn’t do it. He would have to throw another game, then another, then another.
And so it went until, in what he described as his “worst moment,” he was arrested at his home in front of his two daughters on charges of match-fixing, frantically dialing his wife to take the children because police were hauling him off to jail.
“Twenty years of hard work I destroyed in just one month,” he said.