Image result for soccer match fixing
Retrieved form: RediceTV.com

Game or match fixing continues to happen in modern sports. Usually, accusations come from angry fans who could not accept the defeat of their favorite teams. Of course, it is reasonable to dismiss such fan rhetoric but match fixing becomes serious when regulatory bodies and feds  begin to suspect that such events might have taken place.  ‘In 2010, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) investigated a South African, soccer referee who was suspected of fixing matches (Jon Han, 2018). Soccer, referees, linemen, coaches, club managers and owners etc,  could all be involved in fixing schemes. Other culprit’s may include: casino’s, gamblers, bookies and other special interests.


How deep is match fixing in soccer

The scheme is international across different leagues and countries. UEFA Champions league, the English Premier league, and even the world up have been plagued with fixing scandals.  ‘In 2009, the guardian reports a UEFA  probe into 40 games in the European league(Gibson, 2009). Also, in 2013, the The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation(Europol) reported an international crime cartel based in Singapore that was responsible for fixing a number of soccer matches across different countries (“Match-fixing”, 2013). Europol also reported the there were 680 cases of soccer match fixing incidents from 2008 to 2013 in which 425 soccer officials and players where involved (Smith, 2013) i Also, in SPORTSNET There are numerous cases and rumors of fixing in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americans which continue to pose a great treat to the integrity of the sports.

Gambling is the main motivation for game fixing most sports, including soccer. Although, the sports and state benefit from the huge economic benefit of gambling,  maintaining the integrity of the sports is way more important. Illegal gambling practices and corruption in the soccer industry result in bad game fixing plots that threaten the future of the sports.

Image result for gambling and sports betting
Retrieved from CNNMoney 

 

Aside gambling, soccer governing institutions like FIFA  are ineffective in track down fixing schemes and punishing those involved appropriately. However, FIFA has been caught in its own scandal when the FBI investigated the agency. The FBI probe into FIFA reveals an organization plagued with corruption from the top. The investigation eventually led to the resignation FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter.  The question becomes whether FIFA is capable of handling the match fixing problem in soccer itself is so internally corrupt.

 

Image result for Picture of FIFa president sepp blatter
Ex. FIFA President Sepp Blatter. Retrieved form CNN.com Enter a caption

The political economy of match fixing

Match fixing is prevalent  in the big soccer leagues and the world cup. Most soccer players, referees, coaches, managers and gamblers involved in match-fixing are wealthier than the average fan . In fact, most pro soccer players and top gamblers are multi-millionaires. According to Corrigan, “[t]he political economy of media is a theoretical perspective that seeks to understand the inter-relationships of wealth, power, and the media and cultural systems including – sports and sports media”(Corrigan, 2014). Since soccer is not a high or upper class sports like golfing, most soccer fans are  not wealthy millionaires like the players themselves. Hence, the manipulation of play outcome could be interpreted as another way in which the rich and elite( wealthy gamblers and soccer players) exert their power of the ordinary people. For some fans, sports a way of relaxation and escape from the stressful, capitalist work environment in which they constantly live in. The invasion of the sports in the manner of fixing play outcomes intrudes the personal experience of the fan take away the genuine experience. Therefore, matching fixing as reinforcing the existing power structure.


How so we tackle game fixing in soccer?

Combating match fixing should involve the government, organizations like FIFA, managers, players, coaches, referees. Only this type of multifaceted intervention would be effective in tackling match fixing schemes. The government should work together with the organizations like FIFA to track and bring these criminals to justice. The collaboration between the security agencies and organizations like FIFA and UEFA should be strengthened and encouraged. Teams should have an open door policy where managers, coaches and players can express their concerns freely. This will improve the likelihood of reporting cases of attempting fixing.  The role of referees in match fixing is perhaps the most significant. Sometimes fan can suspect that a referee is trying to fix a match and it could be very noticeable given the role of the referee as the final decision maker on the field. Referees occupy a very significant role in the field and should be properly vetted on a regular basis. One can argue that referees should be vetted more than athletes are vetted for doping. When an individual signs up to become a referee, the rights to view their financial earning should be open to FIFA or even to the pubic. That kind of vetting should be put in place for referees and the punishment for involving in fixing scandal should be permanent dismissal and ban from soccer and any major sports. They same goes for players, coaches, and managers.

Although, strict punishment of match fixers under the law may be necessary, there are other things that could be done to prevent that from happening in the first place. Educating players, coaches and referees on how to confront match fixing proposals. On the other hand, fans who paid to watch a match that was later found to be fixed should be refunded and a public apology should be issued in for every case of match fixing. Absolute transparency in the handling of match fixing would be critical in gaining  back the fans respect and trust in the system and in the sports of soccer.

Advancement in technologies that could monitor match fixing could also be very beneficial in detecting cases. Since we live in the era of technological advancement, employing the growth and development in modern technology to combat match-fixing should be giving more attention.


Conclusion

In summary the, match fixing in soccer is a major problem facing the sports. Governing agencies like FIFA and UEFA as well as government security agencies have a responsibility to crack down match fixing cases. FIFA being the biggest soccer organization should build up their own reputation and credibility to strengthen public trust in the system. Referees, couches and players, and gamblers can be directly involved in match fixing and should be punished when that happens. However, educating players and referees on game fixing and creating a safe environment for such discussion maybe be more effective than punishment in combating the issue. In conclusion, the sports of soccer and fans are true victims of match fixing and we all should be concerned for the future of the sports a majority of the population love so much.


References

Corrigan, T. F. (2014). The political economy of sports and new media. In Routledge handbook of sport and new media(pp. 61-72). Routledge.

Gibson, O. (2009). Uefa investigates 40 European games in match-fixing crackdown. The Guardian. https://goo.gl/iTL6Ri

Hill, D., Longman, J., (2018). Fixed soccer matches cast shadow over world cup. New York Times. https://goo.gl/iTL6Ri  

Match-fixing: champions league tie plated in England was fixed. BBC. (2013). https://goo.gl/r4g7pg

Smith, C. (2013). Property of forbes.com. Retrieved on April 9th, 2018 from SFU library website.

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