Match Fixing 301 Course

Dear Friends,

The lectures will be controversial. The material will be accurate. There will be shocking videos. Please see below my thoughts on the upcoming Play the Game conference in Denmark. If you’re a conference participant I guarantee that you will not leave unshaken.


It was a dramatic and surprising announcement.

Ten years ago at the Play the Game conference in Copenhagen, I announced that European sport would be hit with a wave of Asian-style match-fixing. It was the first time that anyone had publicly made the claim.

Sadly, in the ten years since that conference the prediction has been proven true. Now there have been over-twenty national police investigations into systemic corruption in European sport: hundreds of players, referees and officials have been convicted. Almost every level of European football has been corrupted from relatively minor games to international matches and the Champions League.

However, the research into modern-day match-fixing is still relatively rudimentary.

Part of the fault is that the usual scenario at conferences prevents any serious discussion of match-fixing. At these events a group of purported experts trots up on stage to speak about match-fixing. Each is given roughly fifteen minutes to speak. Even when the speaker is very good it is difficult to say anything substantive in that time frame. If a speaker does manage to say something intelligent it often gets washed out in a sea of platitudes.
Thus most conference sessions on match-fixing get stuck at the cliché level: speaker after speaker says things like – “match-fixing is bad” or “we must all fight hard to prevent match-fixing” or even (Goodness help us!) “All international stakeholders should cooperate together in a multi-paradigm approach to bring about a truly global solution to this on-going problem…”

This dire situation occurs when the speakers are good. However, many of the ‘experts’ in the field are actually driven by other commercial agendas. While they may be people who are genuinely concerned by match-fixing, their chief purpose is something else like raising funds for their academic research, enjoying a globe-trotting lifestyle, keeping government oversight out of their sports or making sure that their particular gambling company is either licensed and taxed by a European government or better yet, licensed and untaxed by a European government.

At this year’s Play the Game conference for the 10-year anniversary of the announcement of the threat of modern-day match-fixing, the organizers have allowed me to present a series of lectures away from the main conference format where I can show robust, peer-reviewed research into match-fixing in a proper, systematic form.

The lectures are aimed specifically at academics, journalists and anyone interested in playing a part in the fight against match-fixing. It is impossible to win a war unless you have accurate data. These lectures are designed to give researchers the necessary information.

The three lectures in the mini-course on match-fixing:

Road Map to the Anti-Match-Fixing Industry (Sunday, October 25th, 11.00 a.m.)

An explanation of the agendas that drive much of the discussion around match-fixing. It is of particular importance to journalists who want to cover the field to understand why certain ‘experts’ in the field emphasize particular areas. It is of particular importance to academics who study match-fixing to recognize the potential conflict of interests that have shaped much of the current research. It is of particular importance to any Play the Game attendee who wants to understand at the upcoming conference why experts are saying what they do during the sessions on match-fixing.

Building Blocks of Analysis (Monday, October 26th, 1.15 p.m.)

An evidence-based exploration of the fundamental questions of match-fixing:

  • What are the types of match-fixing?
  • How do they work?
  • Why do team owners fix games?
  • How do they fix games?
  • Why do players/referees participate in fixes?
  • Is violence used to recruit players/referees to fix?
  • What is the profile of the players/referees who fix?

Why Some Leagues and Not Others? (Wednesday, October 28th, 1.15 p.m.)

The final session lays out the numerous ways of preventing the modern form of match-fixing. Most of the preventative strategies can be put in place with no cost. Most of the genuine preventative strategies have not been put in place. This lecture outlines these solutions and explains why they have not been implemented.

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