UK Match Fixing III: Five more matches alleged to have been fixed

Another five matches were supposed to have been fixed in the English league in the last four months.

The news comes from an organization out of Brussels – Federbet.  Who claims they have an infallible system to detect match-corruption and that has, they claim, revealed that matches in England  were fixed this season.

‘In just four months Federbet detected 51 matches surely fixed on the list there are also three European Championship qualifiers and six Champions League preliminary games. Among the European countries, the phenomenon is very evident in Malta and Cyprus, where the great majority of matches is is distorted by irregularities. The virus is very present also in Lithuania and Latvia and there are cases even in Bulgaria, Sweden and Spain. Sport manipulation begins to penetrates also championship so far untouched, like the second divisions of the Football Conference in England (5 matches fixed among the 50 detected).’

I have no idea of the credibility of Federbet or their methods.   But it is another day, another alleged scandal and yet another body blow to the credibility of the British game.

I have seen similar match-fixing scandals around the world – here are the stages:

1)    Denial – sports officials, journalists and fans say things like, ‘Fixing would never happen in our league.  It may happen with foreigners, but not with us – We are South Korean!’ [or German or English or Austrian or fill in the blank for the country.]

2)    Then a host of scandals happen that show, sure enough, the globalised form of sports corruption can occur in their country.

3)    A few months pass and then a match occurs with all the unexpected spectacle and drama of true sports: a referee shows 8 yellow cards, a team scores five goals in the second half, a favourite loses a game to a complete underdog.   The reaction of fans?

      ‘It could not be true.  There must have been a fix.’

This will mean that the essential credibility of the sport is under doubt.

4)    Resignation – After this unbelievable match league officials, journalists, fans will now say things like, ‘There is nothing we can do.  Fixing is part of the modern sport.  It is too big for us to tackle properly.   We have to give up.’

In their progress from denial to resignation they have, of course, forgotten about combat.     There are many things that can be done to preserve the integrity of sport.  This is a new form of sports corruption – globalised match-fixing – that can largely be beaten.

The object of this blog for the next few weeks is to show the different tactics and strategies that can be used to defeat fixing.

It is drawn from the last two chapters of the latest book ‘The Insider’s Guide to Match-Fixing in Football’.   I argue throughout the book that fixing comes not from ethnicity or culture, but from specific circumstances within a league.  Remove those circumstances and you remove fixing.

Last week, the young sports lawyer Kevin Carpenter posted his thoughts on the idea of an amnesty for players, referees and sports officials who have been involved in fixing.    Stay tuned for more prospective solutions and remember we can beat fixing. We can protect our sport – do not let anyone tell you differently!


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