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An accepted definition of match-fixing of The National Policy on Match-Fixing in Sport in Australia (June 2011) is “the manipulation of an outcome or contingency by competitors, teams, sports agents, support staff, referees and officials and venue staff, which includes:

  • the deliberate fixing of the result of a contest, or of an occurrence within the contest, or of a points spread;
  • deliberate under-performance;
  • withdrawal from the event (tanking);
  • an official’s deliberate misapplication of the rules of the contest;
  • interference with the play or playing surfaces by venue staff; and
  • abuse of insider information to support a bet placed by any of the above or placed by a gambler who has recruited such people to manipulate an outcome or contingency.

In football in the UK, FA rules regarding match-fixing state that: ‘Fixing is arranging in advance the result or conduct of a match or competition, or any event within a match or competition’.

In a 2011 review of more than 2000 cases during a decade, 53% to 70% of the cases concerned football. It was reported in 2012 that at least 50 nations were subject to football match fixing investigations i.e. nearly 25% of FIFA’s 209 members. Cases have shown that anyone who has a role to play in sports such as referees, coaches, club managers and maintenance staff at all levels can be involved. In 2010 a security guard and members of a Malaysian betting syndicate were charged for conspiracy to cause a public nuisance after being caught installing a remote control device to disable floodlights in the Charlton Athletic FC stadium ahead of a match against Liverpool FC.

In 2006 Juventus FC in Italy were deducted points and relegated after investigations by Italian prosecutors revealed that their manager had worked with the head of the Italian referees association as well as TV pundits to get preferential treatment from, and commentary about, referees towards his team. Other Serie A teams such as AC Milan, Napoli, Florentina and Lazio were later penalized as a result of the investigations.

Some match fixing cases stem from a desire to get strategic advantage. For instance four seeded Olympic mixed-double badminton teams were disqualified for throwing round robin matches in the 2012 London Olympics when jockeying for better draws in the elimination rounds.

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