El Salvador, a passionate country, a place where the people love and sacrifice for football, a country where life is hard, but football has always been a painkiller against the difficulties of a bad economy, crime and other social problems.
Football, is not as important as the sovereignty, democracy, politics, public health, education, etc. but important enough to held a war against our brother country Honduras, our country has attended two world cups in the history, Mexico 70 and Spain 86, has given one of the best players in the history of this beautiful sport, Jorge el Mágico Gonzalez however El Salvador has always had problems to qualify to the world cups, we have never been the strongest team in the region, but we have always had the honor of fighting with the cuscatleca claw till the end.
It had always been like that, not the best team of the region but fighter enough to feel proud of it and keep believing, until July 2013, when started some gossips about football players of the national team fixing games and making money with the people feelings.
Finally the story was true, our players, the heroes of the children had sold the games of the national team, the players were administratively punished expelling them to continue playing professional football, some of them temporary, some of them for the rest of their lives.
The General Prosecutor decided to accuse the players of money washing, this crime involves all the activities and actions in order to move money that come from criminal activities to real operations, with legal business so this money can be inserted in the economy of the country converting the illegal money into legal.
This crime can be found in the article 4 of the Washing Money Law and it says “who deposits, withdrawals, converts or transfers funds, goods or rights that come directly or indirectly from criminal activities, to hide or cover the criminal origin, or help to avoid the juridical consequences of the acts of who has participated in this criminal activities, inside or outside the country, will be punished with five to fifteen years of prison and with a fine of fifty to two thousand five hundred monthly minimum salaries valid for trade and industry and services at the moment of the sentence to be issued.
It will be considered money washing too, any operation, transaction, action or omission in order to hide the illegal origin and to legalize goods that come from criminal activities made inside or outside the country.”
The soccer players didn’t take illegal money for converting, transferring or hide it and giving it back to the criminal organizations after inserting it to the economy of our country, they just played a bad game and got paid for doing it.
Money washing is a crime more focused in avoiding criminal organizations to legalize their money, is a fight against drug cartels, illegal people and weapons traffic, it wasn’t meant to fight football corrupted players, their actions don’t fit the crime.
Selling a football game, obtaining money by not scoring a goal or for helping your rival to score, is not an action punishable by our penal code; money washing is a punishable action very different to the actions made by the football players, however our football history must never forget the actions made by these players, and even though our penal code can not punish this honorless people they must never come back to the fields, the next generations must be taught that the hopes and feelings of the people can never be sold and that this horrible chapter in the history of our sports can’t be repeated.