Football is by far the most popular sport in the world, with people all areas of the globe playing and watching the sport on a regular basis.
Teams and players develop cult-like followings and the sums of money in the game are startling when you get to the professional level. With hundreds of millions being spent on certain players through transfer fees and massive money being gambled on football matches each and every day, it is big business.
Whenever there is a lot of money floating about in a given sector, there is inevitably going to be those who attempt to financially benefit in scrupulous ways.
One of the biggest scourges affecting football today is match-fixing. There have been a number of high profile cases in recent years and it seems to be more common since the advent of online gambling whereby people can place bets across over one hundred different sports betting sites.
This gives players, management and officials the incentive to engage in match fixing as they can get a lucrative reward as a result of influencing the game they are involved in.
The worldwide betting industry is worth more than $1 trillion, with match-fixing being a multi-billion dollar venture in itself. Numbers that most of the big bookies listed on betting top 10’s are seeing.
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It was towards the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 that English football was hit with a match-fixing scandal which saw four players arrested, being charged with match-fixing. For example, the defender for Portsmouth FC Sam Sodje made an admission that he had taken a £70,000 bribe in order to get a red card in a game.
There are hundreds of markets to bet on during a game, such as what team will get the first corner, what player will get a yellow card etc. This means that there are many opportunities for match-fixing to occur without it being overly obvious.
There are many crime syndicates across the world that makes their money through match-fixing and they have many contacts that are close to players, management and officials who are called fixers.
When an opportunity for match-fixing proves successful, the winnings will be split between the fixer and the crime syndicate.
There is a particularly lucrative incentive for players who are not earning as much as the big stars to participate in match-fixing as it is a means for them to boost their income substantially.
FIFA itself has been embroiled in their own corruption scandals as of late, with football being in disarray on a number of fronts.
It is vital that match-fixing is dealt with in a decisive manner in order to ensure a bright future for the sport.