Football continues to grow in popularity thanks to burgeoning interest in the United States, where more more young people are taking up the sport. As our sport continues to get bigger, there is one long lasting problem that has continued to fester like an open sore, threatening the integrity and long-term health of football on a global scale. That problem is of course match fixing.
Match fixing has become big business in recent years. While betting is now a $1 trillion industry worldwide, match fixing has become a multi-billion dollar business. The amount of illegal bets placed by match fixers and organized crime rings is staggering, and their involvement has put a dim light on the world’s beautiful game.
A prime example of this was the scandal that rocked English football in late 2013 and early 2014. The scandal saw four footballers arrested on charges of match fixing, while numerous others associated with arranging the throwing matches were questioned, arrested, and in some cases given lengthy prison sentences. During this scandal former Portsmouth FC defender Sam Sodje admitted to accepting a £70,000 bribe to get sent off.
The issue seems to be widening in scope as well, with crime syndicates from the other side of the world organizing match fixing schemes with fixers close to the players. When the opportune bets are paid out in the fixers’ favour, the money is then split with the crime syndicates and the cycle continues to repeat itself.
Match fixing has become a global pandemic for football, one that will not go away unless governments and football associations stand up to combat the threat. Players and officials from the smaller nations are most susceptible to being coerced into accepting the bets, and there must be a zero tolerance policy to deter any succeptible players of officials.
For their part, FIFA and various regional level betting groups have come out in recent months and announced their intention to stop match corruption. That being said, it is hard to see how so many organizations dealing with their own interests will be able to formulate a coordinarted response to the problem.
The world’s most popular sport football may be, but unless it can eradicate match fixing the long term prognosis for the sport will not be nearly as bright.
Click on the infographic to enlarge it.
Infograohic and article by Eric Roberts.
Match-Fixing In Football: A European Epidemic? – An infographic by the team at SportsBettingOnline.net