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Tackling Match-Fixing in Football

Written by Peter Van Veen on Monday, 1 September 2014

Football is a globalised sport where it is possible to bet on almost any game and any aspect of a game. But this also means that the risk of match-fixing linked to corrupt sports gambling is on the increase.

Match-fixing in football isn’t new. It’s something that has been around since the sport’s early days. Simply put, any time a player or official alters the normal course of a football match in exchange for an inducement (monetary or otherwise), they are guilty of match-fixing.

In a fixed game, a corrupted match official might favour one side over the other. A corrupted goalkeeper might concede a penalty or fail to make saves and corrupted players might misplace passes, fail to defend, miss chances and so on.

Football is a globalised sport where it is possible to bet on almost any game and any aspect of a game. With the online betting market worth $700 billion annually and growing, the risk of match-fixing linked to corrupt sports gambling is on the increase. The news yesterday that Delroy Facey has been charged over match-fixing allegations is only the most recent in a long list of such cases around the world and one suspects, must surely be the tip of the iceberg.

With the increased risk of match-fixing, more needs to be done to educate players and club officials on the risks they face, how they may be approached, and the action they should take to protect themselves, as well as protecting the integrity of their club and their sport.

Transparency International UK’s new guidance, Safeguarding the Beautiful Game: A Guide to Preventing Match-fixing in Football at Club Level is designed to serve as such a resource.

The guidance has been developed as part of Staying on Side: How to Stop Match-Fixing Transparency International’s first multi-country project specifically relating to corruption and sport funded by the EU and the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL).

The guide has been produced specifically to complement existing training and other measures introduced by the Football Leagues, Football Associations and Player Associations in the UK to combat match-fixing.  Other measures include, the Football Association and the Scottish Football Association ban on anyone involved in football from any football-related betting anywhere in the world. New technology used to track betting patterns to help identify potentially fixed matches is another example.

These measures collectively are critical in the preventing match fixing as career criminals see match-fixing as a relatively low risk way of making and laundering money. And it’s not only professional criminals who look to exploit relationships with players to make money. Friends of players and other opportunists can be tempted to misuse their relationship with the player to get inside information or to induce the player to take part in a fix. The profits of such cases may be relatively small, but they can compromise the player and their club, potentially cutting short their career in football.

So how do we hope this publication will make a difference?

The report uses realistic but fictional scenarios to illustrate the danger of match-fixing. Each scenario is accompanied by advice for clubs to help them prevent such a scenario from occurring. We decided on this format as we’ve found from previous publications that scenarios are a very effective tool to support organisations in their training and communication. Our hope is that football clubs throughout the UK, professional or amateur, will use this guidance to help reduce the risk of match-fixing in their respective clubs.

Copies of the publication will be sent to the professional leagues and football associations for distribution. Their feedback has already been vital in informing our research, and we are keen to work with them moving forward. We also encourage football clubs to contact us for further hardcopies of the guidance. A PDF version is already freely available on our website here.


Read 4197 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 11:47

Peter Van Veen

Peter is the Director of TI-UK's Business Integrity Programme. You can follow him on Twitter @pvanveen

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