Betting in UK Sport - Match fixing and the fixing of results

Match fixing

What is meant by match fixing?

Match fixing is a practice surrounding a variety of sports and is much more common than it is often given credit for. It involves the participants of a sporting context to try and fix the result of the sporting context to ensure that a particular outcome occurs.

Why would the participants try to fix the outcome of a sporting contest?

Betting on sport is a huge industry within the UK with thousands of pounds being spent daily up and down the country betting on outcomes of various sporting contexts. Match fixing goes hand in hand with sports betting as the participants who have decided to fix the match will have bet money on a particular outcome happening as will a variety of other people close to them. There are huge amounts of money to be made by corrupt organisations from the fixing of sporting contests.

Match Fixing in the Professional sports arena

Many feel that fixing the outcome of a sporting contest is a practice which is left to the amateur sporting arena, for example it is a practice that many people associate with amateur and illegal boxing matches. It is, however, not something which is limited to this arena and is a practice which has been creeping into high profile professional sports worldwide such as football and cricket.

What can be done to stop match fixing?

Rules set by the Governing body

Match fixing and other forms of corruption within a specific sport are seen as issues which will often be solved internally by that particular sport with appropriate rules and penalties set down by the various governing bodies of that sport.

For example looking at the sport of football in England, the Football Association deals with the problem of match fixing by laying down the following rule:

  • Players are prohibited from staking money on any match or competition in which they are participating or on which they have direct or indirect influence

A match in which they will have a direct influence would be a match in which they are participating and a match in which they would have indirect influence would not be one in which they were directly playing but one of the same league or division.

Accordingly it is not just fixing matches that professional footballers are banned from; they are also prohibited from betting on any football match.

This is designed to protect the integrity of the sport.

The Level Playing Field

One of the fundamental aspects of the sporting competition is that the so called level playing field is maintained. If this is lost then the entire nature of the sporting context is lost.

Accordingly offences of match fixing which take away this level playing field are seen as important a problem as that of doping and illegal drug use in the sporting context.

Penalties for Match Fixing

    As the offence of match fixing is one which is dealt with internally by the sport it will be the sporting national governing body which will hand down the penalties for the offence. In a recent 2009 case involving players betting on the outcome of a Football League match four players were found to have bet on the outcome, three from one side and one from the opposition. The Football Association found irregular patterns concerning the betting around this game and the four players were each handed a ban from professional football and a ban.

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For more information on:

  • Do the book makers have a role to play in the policing of match fixing?
  • Potential problem under the Gambling Act
  • Is match fixing illegal under UK Law?
  • Have there been any recent criminal cases involving match fixing?