It is the one thing which threatens to destroy football as a sport and business around the world and it seems to be more rife than ever before.
The reason it’s so widespread is because it seems quite simple for ‘third parties’ to arrange match fixing to take place which creates millions through illegal betting and gambling.
Betting on football now covers more markets than ever before and it’s possible to bet on the most obscure of incidents from the number of throw ins during a match to the number of tackles a certain player makes.
One of the main problems seems to be how easily players can be contacted with more individuals than ever before claiming to act in the best interests of the players they represent.
For example if a player agreed to be booked within a certain timeframe, all that player has to do is go into a challenge a little more aggressively or just mouth off at the referee frequently. Both of these things are widespread aspects of football.
The massive danger here is that people will stop watching and attending football matches if they don’t believe that what they are seeing is the real deal; an unaltered, not tampered with version of the great game.
The figures from Europol also state that up to 16 million Euros was gambled across these 380 matches creating a profit margin for criminal gangs of around eight million Euros.
In short, it’s a massive problem which needs to be sorted out but how it gets sorted out is another problem in itself.
It’s different from other negative aspects of the game such as racism and discrimination because those issues can be directly dealt with through banning the individuals involved.
How match fixing is dealt with is unclear. Although there have been harsh penalties handed down to several clubs and individuals involved on the professional side of the game, it’s still widespread among the criminal organisations.
There are also going to always be vulnerable players all over the world who can’t get a new or big contract and will hence do something pre-planned in a game for a wad of cash.
The good news is that Europol have highlighted the extent of the problem which will draw attention to it, which in turn gives it a better chance of being stamped out.
We’d love to hear your views on this.
image: © Jan S0L0