Sports betting is made legal in about more than a dozen countries in the world with China believed to the pioneer of this process. What started as a matter of fun has evolved to become a $120 billion plus industry. But, the organic fun has been replaced with vicious planning and has made this recreational activity uglier with organized crime’s interference in the form of match fixing. Though not so respectful title, the villain of the football game, the best match fixer is Wilson Raj Perumal.
He confesses to fixing about 80-100 football matches including the World Cup Qualifiers. This case of match fixing opens discussions on many avenues and throws light on conditions that make match fixing possible.
Who are the match fixers usually?
Match fixing is a cakewalk for the people who have some influence over the players and teams’ management. It is not a stunt that a single man can pull off but requires abetment from a couple of people. In the case of Wilson Raj Perumal, he was an influential footballer who had played a considerable number of matches before diving into the dirty game. His reputation as a footballer earned him easy access to the players and management.
No one questions a man sitting on the stands and watching matches. This situation worked in the favor of W.R. Perumal and he used his influence to pass instruction to players to lose points, or deflect football or waste time to lose the match.
His first attempt to fix the match was foiled. He bribed Zimbabwe players to lose the game 4-1 but the match ended in a draw 2-2. That served as the practice event and next time, he managed to fix not just one but a series of matches by bribing Zimbabwe team players and management. It helped him made a lot of money and fuelled his confidence. Across the world, he became a bad force among the bookies and it came to a halt when he got caught in Singapore. He had worked with the biggest betting syndicate Dan Tan during his stint as a match-fixer.
Hence, a match fixer is usually a sportsperson who has access to the team or young players. The other possible agencies involved in the match fixing are team coaches, managers, tournament officials. In essence, these people hold influential positions and can easily target newbies and allure them to make quick and more money.
Why match fixing is done and how?
Match fixing is deciding the outcome of the game in advance and making players work to achieve that outcome in lieu of a lot of money. The players group with a few people to conspire and get the outcome. Mostly, bookies appoint the match fixers. They first inflate the odd and then demand the players to give results against the odd. If you find a bet whose value is too high and seems to be exaggerated than the indications from your research, you may be looking at a fixed match.
The bookies make a lot of money by changing the outcome or creating an upset. Bettors lose money and sometimes, even lives, due to irresponsible and vile behaving of a handful of the people.
Which are the most talked about fixed match incidents?
The crime of fixing the match has shaken the football world in a few incidents. May be the reported numbers of fixed matches are less than actual matches fixed. Whatever the case is, the incidents that became the breaking news of the football world and woke up the world to ugly possibility of matches being fixed are:
- Calciopoli Scandal in 2006: In this incident, the Italian football was maligned by the act of match-fixing. The incident created influence at much higher levels in the Italian football as the culprits tampered with the process through which referees were appointed. It led to relegation of Juventus, the winners, to Serie B.
- Robert Hoyzer’s fixing case: Robet Hoyzer was found guilty of rigging a game that involved Hamburg and Paderborn. After initial denial, he confessed and further cooperated in the investigation. It shook the German football and the fans were deeply disappointed.
- Italian football scandal: The investigations are on in full swing and Italian Police have arrested 16 people for their alleged involvement in match fixing and related betting scandals.
The bettors lose a lot of money to bookmakers who turn the outcome against the odds. It becomes really difficult to identify a fixed bet even if the betting sites tag the bets as ‘fixed’ on their offerings. The stunt may be just to fool the bettor and extract money.
Those who want to stay clean and play fair game feel threatened and cheated. They lose the career if the drafts are filled with the players who have agreed to be the part of fixing and not on the basis of their talent.
Sometimes, match-fixing becomes the breeding ground for crimes. In order to exercise and show off power, the culprits of fixing match resort to extortion and organized crime and commit various crimes.
Match-fixing has become a matter of concern all over the world. The attempts are on to cleanse the football game and make it a fair field for all. Police and investigators from all parts of the world share information and are always in look out for evidences to prove the crime.
The biggest hurdle is that the match-fixing is not easy to prove. It requires laying hands on powerful people. Also, the access to financial accounts of suspected match-fixers is not easy to get. The lack of policing at the stadiums and poor chances of influential sportspersons involved in this activity provide ample cover to the culprits.
As a bettor, you must not give into attractions like fixed match bet. All in the betting arena are to make money from the gullible beginners or those who are desperate to score a win. The best approach is to confirm the hunch with research and find football tipster bets with reasonable value.