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Match Fixing

Match fixing in UK football, the history and future

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It’s a miracle how little football in the UK has been affected from match making scandals compared to other countries like Italy for example. So, there may be two possibilities for this, either football fixing in the UK is hard to detect or there is none. Nevertheless, there have been several incidents throughout the history relating to match fixing in the UK.

When a striker misses a certain goal chance everybody in the stands laughs at him. But, little do people realize that the match is maybe fixed and that striker was maybe bribed to miss all of his chances or not get involved into goal-scoring situations at all. However, there is a large number of bettors that believe in fixed matches. There are countless Facebook profiles run by people that claim to have tips on fixed matches, and countless Facebook pages and groups where all sorts of betting and gambling info is shared from a list of top Microgaming casinos for 2016 to the latest gossip about a fixed match.

The earliest match fixing case recorded was a test match from 1898 between Stoke and Burnley, a match that decided which team would be promoted. A draw result was beneficial to both teams, so the match ended 0-0. The Athletic News reported how little the forwards were anxious to score, and that the match could have gone without goalkeepers and still end a draw. While next season Burnley’s goalkeeper Jack Hillman was found to offer £2 to each of Nottingham’s players to take it easy. When the officials found out about it, Hillman was suspended for a year.

From that moment on only a handful of match fixing cases happened or at least so much were found. The earliest betting scandal that happened in UK football was in 1915 when in a suspicious match Manchester United fighting to avoid relegation defeated Liverpool 2-0. The Liverpool players showed a big lack of effort to win the game, and later allegations were created over the large amounts of money won thanks to Manchester United’s win whose odds were 7/1. An investigation ensued and was found that several Liverpool and United players were involved in the match fixing. No officials were involved in the scandal.

From 1915 till date only 4 match fixing scandals were discovered all related to betting in 1964, 2008 and 2013. In 1964 players from lower league teams were involved into betting scandals where they were enticed into betting on fixed outcomes so that they can be included into the betting machinery. The scandal lasted for 2 years starting in 1962.

The 2008 scandal was related to only one match between Accrington Stanley and Bury when unusual betting patterns were detected. Four Accrington and one Bury player was found to be betting on Bury to win and each player was fined between £2,000–5,000 and suspended.

The scandal from 2013 was affecting entire Europe, but only one fixed match connected to the scandal happened in England. It was a UEFA Champions League draw that happened between 2009 and 2013, but was never named due to the ongoing investigations from Europol. Around 380 fixed matches were detected by Europol.

The same year the Daily Telegraph and Sun on Sunday discovered several lower-league match fixing scandals. Involved players were the brothers Sodje, DJ Campbell, Christian Montano as well as other non-footballers that bribed players to get red cards and entice other players into fixing.

Since then no UK football match fixing scandal has been uncovered and hopefully there will be none. It’s really hard to countenance the possibility that English football is actively affected by match fixing and betting scandals. At least we are somewhat confident that elite players don’t get involved into that. It’s very unlikely that players like Aguero or other money-making football machines would dare to risk life-long suspension from football in order to earn a bit more from fixing matches. The focus will always be on lower leagues where players can earn much better rewards from fixing than what they earn from their salaries. Can you imagine the fraudulent bribes going through sites like Paddy Power.

Football is a sport that attracts big amounts of money without a doubt, where the most expensive transfers happen, and probably will never be left alone by match fixers and criminals. That’s just the way things have been, and will be in the future.

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