Is match fixing still a thing?

Everyone knows that football is one of the most popular sports in the world...

Table of contents:
  • Truth and myths about match fixing
  • How does it work? A few examples
  • How did the corruption and match-fixing work in the past?
  • New times bring new possibilities
  • So how does modern match-fixing work?
  • Another great example comes from Italy
  • Is it really worth to participate in match-fixing?
Posted by Tom

Truth and myths about match fixing

Everyone knows that football is one of the most popular sports in the world. It provides entertainment and generate huge incomes for a lot of people. 25 milliard euros – this is how much the European football market is really worth! No wonder that football brings many frauds and people that wish to earn with the use of corruption. That is why match-fixing started to become more and more popular. But how does match fixing look in these days? Everything you need to know about this issue!

How does it work? A few examples

When winter comes, a lot of European leagues tend to have a break before the second part of the season begins. Then, clubs wish to organize friendly matches for players and managers to train tactics, keep players fit, and generally to improve their effectiveness. However, in recent years local football associations warn football clubs against Asian criminal groups that organize friendlies and influence the results. If a club decides to cooperate, the organization of the friendly costs almost nothing, whereas Asians take care of other elements.

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According to Football Associations all around the Europe, such practice is a huge problem that concerns football. It is obvious that in every place one can find huge money there will be also a corruption – or at least temptation of it. Sadly, more and more sophisticated ways of implementing such practice make it very difficult, if not impossible, to detect.

How did the corruption and match-fixing work in the past?

There are dozens of examples, where matches were fixed, especially in less prestigious leagues. A great example is from 1993, when two clubs from Poland were competing for the first place in the league. Although Legia Warszawa and the other club, namely LKS Lodz had the same amount of points, the thing that decided about the championship was the difference in goals, which was far better in case of Legia Warszawa. A huge influence on such course of events were some matches, like for example the one, where Legia Warszawa defeated Wisla Krakow 6:0.

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It is obvious that in former days corruption included not only clubs in general, but also individuals like for example football players, referees, and other staff members that received a different rewards for being a good employee. But how does the situation of match-fixing look like in modern times?

New times bring new possibilities

Now, in the times of Internet, satellite television and other innovative technologies, almost any match from a more prestigious events can be watched all over the world. There are of course new possibilities to observe matches and new ways of counteract corruption. However, new possibilities are now possible for people who enjoy betting.

Because of that, modern match-fixing does not include individuals like for example players or referees. The corruption scene is now much wider, since there have been new players, now criminal groups and new bookmakers. Criminal groups have a huge impact on almost any sports discipline, but it is said that corruption in football is the most unsettling, since approximately 50% of sports bets that were influenced by corruption or some illegal activity refers to football matches.

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So how does modern match-fixing work?

The mechanism responsible for effective functioning of corruption modes is very simple and it makes use of bookmaking services. The moment when the possibility of betting matches via Internet became legal, the popularity of online bookmakers started to grow rapidly. From home, it is possible to bet not only for the result of the match itself, but also many different events that may occur during match (an example is betting on the number of corners, yellow cards, who will start the match, and so on). As a result, such betting gave the rise for a temptation to place lots of money on the so-called “sure things”, a thing that will happen with utmost certainty. This is where criminal groups step in.

Organized criminal groups urge football clubs, players, or referees to direct a meeting. The most appropriate thing would be for a weaker team to defeat the better one. Then, it is possible to earn a lot of money. In this way, everyone who decided to bet on an unexpected event will financially benefit from it. Just like bribed activists, footballers, or referees.

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The possibility of betting matches is very often used by the players themselves, who wish to earn some additional money to their “modest” salaries. Although teams usually receive some bonuses for winning matches, it is much easier to lose than to win one. That is why some of them think: “why wouldn’t I place a bet on losing and then do everything in my power to not win?” In theory, footballers cannot place bets in bookmakers. However, they have got a family, friends, and even colleagues who whish to do that for them. Thanks to that, they can also earn some extra thanks to that already fixed situation.

Obviously, not only professionals and rich people wish to make use of bookmaking fixes. There are also individuals, a private users of bookmaking companies that want to find a way to take part in a fixed bet. In the Internet there are hidden forums and groups, where bettors share “certain bets” and “fixes”, which are fixed, sold matches.

As you can see, it is very easy to say that modern match-fixing is very simple and user-friendly, but at the same time very dangerous. Exposing frauds and fakes is very difficult. In the end, these are professionals, so they exactly know how to lose a match in a subtle way. It doesn’t mean; obviously, that corruption scandals are not exposed. Almost every week there are matches that can raise some suspicions.

Thanks to the cooperation of FIFA, UEFA, and Interpol, everything is well observed. What’s more, even bookmakers are trying to protect themselves in order to avoid getting financial punishments.

Another great example comes from Italy

There is an example of how match fixing in todays’ society work. In season 2009/2010, two Italian clubs Chievo and Catanii were playing. Before the match even started, everyone around the world heard that in this match there will be a draw. Because of that, all the bookmakers reacted quickly and they put a relatively low rate for such event. Although one of the teams was winning after 64 minutes, the stake for the draw hasn’t changed. When we take a look at other situations, in such event the stake for a draw would be higher. As you can guess, the match ended with a draw, since the other club made use of penalty a few minutes after the first goal.

Is it really worth to participate in match-fixing?

Usually, the problem of match-fixing concerns relatively young players and the ones that just started their football careers. However, in some cases the desire to cheat is so strong, people tend to cross the line they should never cross. Because of that, they risk the life of their teammates just to fix a match without anyone even knowing. Statistically, almost 15% of matches are fixed. The biggest problem occurs in leagues, where even the weakest club can beat the strongest one. Because of that and obviously huge numbers of money that are connected to football, in some cases it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to get rid of match fixing.

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