Match Fixing in Soccer

Useful primer.

EDITED TO ADD (7/2): Previous article on the subject.

Posted on July 2, 2014 at 5:55 AM • 20 Comments

Comments

ConclusionJuly 2, 2014 6:27 AM

The end is a good summary: "I’m very skeptical that an investigation conducted by the Cameroon FA and FIFA will be very thorough. They have little to gain from revealing their own corruption. I don’t know that Cameroon necessarily manipulated results during this World Cup, but I would be surprised if the entire tournament actually went untouched by match fixers. There’s simply too much to be gained and too little to stop it from occurring."

The only working solution: forbidding any bets, if they rely on something that can be fixed. But who wants that ?

Similar solution against theft of baby and organs: to forbid paying the donor with something that could be traded, and to forbid paying the intermediates.

charriuJuly 2, 2014 6:49 AM

@Conclusion:
But how would you even enforce such a ban?

"The vast majority of the betting markets where people like Perumal and the syndicate(s) he’s belonged to place bets are underground in Asia, with virtually no regulation."

Good luck changing that.

Renato GolinJuly 2, 2014 7:19 AM

"What makes this so shocking and so meaningful is the idea that a World Cup match was fixed."

Really? The higher the gain, the higher the incentives.

World cup matches are always fixed in some way (going back from coach/players selection, to training camps, referees and yes, scores) and the parties involved are not small gamblers, but governments and FIFA, who want to have their countries as hosts or their teams to linger a bit more due to an internal conflict.

The number of protests died out with Brazil wining, and that's how the power of sport can change a whole country. Never underestimate the power of bread and circus.

FIFA is probably the most corrupt international association in history, I really don't understand how people can be so surprised.

Clive RobinsonJuly 2, 2014 7:40 AM

The problem is "who actualy want's to stop this criminality?"

Arguably FIFA under Seth Blatter is almost certainly corrupt at all levels, so they don't want their own gravy train stopped or worse derailed. Thus they will almost certainly find a way out that will involve the minimum of fuss so keep your eye open for some kind of scape goat.

The individual countries that have little money in their respective FAs are not going to stop such behaviour unless they can see better benifit by doing so. Likewise the players in those countries. But even with better prospects as the article notes there will be friendlies etc where matches can be fixed without hurting careas.

Thus the only other people with "skin in the game" are those placing bets. If they did not bet they would not get fleeced and thus the incentive for match fixing would diminish to the point match fixing would not be profitable.

But stoping betting is not going to stop it's part of the "football experience" like supporters who buy match strip etc (which is another fix to milk supporters of money with a lot of criminality involved). There have measurable investigations by the medical fraternity that supporting your team has measurable chemical and brain scan effects, that are stronger than other social and physical attachments including that of sex, which suggests it is the equivalent of an addiction.

Thus the sensible thing for the gamblers is to only bet on matches that effect the futures of players, teams or national associations and have low payoff potentials simply because these are less likely --for now-- to be fixed.

But when you are dealing with addictions, there is always another junky standing in line who thinks they don't have a problem, who a dealer will milk as much as possible, such is the behaviour of a totaly "free market"...

SJJuly 2, 2014 12:56 PM

There was a scandal in U.S. baseball about price-fixing in 1919-1920. (Often called the "Black Socks" scandal.)

I don't think that scandal was exposed until a Grand Jury investigated it.

The League put in hard rules against letting the accused game-fixers ever play again in professional ball.

Had that decision not been made, I think gambling and price-fixing would have continued. Since that time, there's been only one major scandal about gambling in baseball. (Pete Rose, in the 80s.)

Does the international nature of FIFA make it harder to enforce rules against all teams? Maybe.

But an international rule against allowing known game-fixers and gamblers to play again would probably cause such behavior to decline.

KaninchenJuly 2, 2014 9:53 PM

What I don't get is: who is on the losing side of the bet for minor matches? If a World Cup match is fixed, the money comes at the deep end from the pockets of thousands of small bettors who got the result wrong. But when fixing a match of the finnish amateur league... there's likely no one else that placed a bet on that match. Is then the betting house the sucker? And they don't notice?

K-VeikkoJuly 3, 2014 3:09 AM

The trust.

We here in the west have put our trust in a single basket: the government and its regulations, even in the case of betting on future. Somebody will come for us and make it even. (In the end this leads into changing the past to make today look like the future once promised, but that is another subject.) – In Asia betting is less regulated and the loser bears his losses.

Globally this directs the money to flow from the west to Asia. Asians get richer on the expense of west.

ConclusionJuly 3, 2014 3:48 AM

@charriu: "But how would you even enforce such a ban?"

Tell honest people that if you bet in illegal betting markets, you loose because your adversary can fix matches: they will also stop using these illegal betting markets.
That will dry a bit the revenue of match fixers.

I do admit that bet-addicts, betting related to money laundering, governments' Men In Black, and sport teams will continue to fuel betting markets or match fixing.

ConclusionJuly 3, 2014 4:07 AM

@Kaninchen: "who is on the losing side of the bet for minor matches? [...] there's likely no one else that placed a bet on that match."

The scheme http://www.nextavenue.org/article/2013-02/growing-danger-penny-stocks can also be used to wire money between two cooperating entities.

There is another example: http://www.benzinga.com/trading-ideas/small-cap/10/12/741675/mafia-wires-money-through-penny-stocks (shortselling was only useful to pay smaller fees).

These cover transfers can also be done via betting markets. Although fixing a match is not necessary, it is useful to pay smaller betting fees.

BenniJuly 3, 2014 5:26 AM

breaking news:

Users who search after tor or tails in the internet automatically get marked by NSA's xkeyscore as "extremists", this comes out after analyzing the sourcecode!!! of xkeyscore!

Furthermore, NSA monitors "Directory Authorities" of tor.

http://www.tagesschau.de/inland/nsa-xkeyscore-100.html

http://daserste.ndr.de/panorama/archiv/2014/Quellcode-entschluesselt-Beweis-fuer-NSA-Spionage-in-Deutschland,nsa224.html

http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/XKeyscore-Quellcode-Tor-Nutzer-werden-von-der-NSA-als-Extremisten-markiert-und-ueberwacht-2248328.html

http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/netzpolitik/nsa-spaehte-tor-server-von-deutschem-student-mit-xkeyscore-aus-a-978914.html

If someone writes an email when he is connected to tor, NSA automatically analyzes the content of the mail.

Additionally, NSA monitors the german hacker group chaos computer club. These people, however, regularly assist the german government with reports to security questions, for example, the german parliament forbid election computers after the expertise of the chaos computer club.

BenniJuly 3, 2014 6:16 AM

If one reads the last "tor annual report"

https://www.torproject.org/about/findoc/2012-TorProject-Annual-Report.pdf

then one finds that, surprisingly, 60 % of tor's financial income comes from the US government. This immediately raises the question whether tor is a honeypot created by the US government. Since NSA has the IP from those who downloaded tor before they used it, tor users may not be anonymous at all, and therefore tor takes the role of some kind of honeypot for suspects for the NSA.

WiredogJuly 3, 2014 7:46 AM

@Benni
"surprisingly, 60 % of tor's financial income comes from the US government. "

It's only surprising to those who know nothing about Tor, which was invented by the US Government. Department of State, IIRC.

BenniJuly 3, 2014 8:23 AM

"It's only surprising to those who know nothing about Tor, which was invented by the US Government. Department of State, IIRC."

I know that it has been invented by them. But that they further nourish it that much was new to me...

Tor is a quite nice project. Especially since its alleged security depends on the assumption that no agency can monitor the entire internet.

Today we have Binney in the withness stand at the german parliament's nsa investigation comission. Here's a liveblog with him, saying:

https://netzpolitik.org/2014/live-blog-4-anhoerung-im-nsa-untersuchungsausschuss/

"We created a network graph of the entire world, then we could zoom into specific networks and filter amm e-mails and calls."

This was done at nsa before the year 2001, at the same time where the tor project was created with the assumption that no agency can monitor the entire internet....

This is why you should use retroshare now

http://retroshare.sourceforge.net/

and not tor where NSA can monitor or even operate the exitnodes.

EvanJuly 3, 2014 11:12 AM

The main takeaway I get from this article is that gambling is stupid. Gambling houses don't really have any interest in eliminating fixing; they get a percentage take no matter what. FIFA doesn't care because it's primarily concerned with enriching its officers through graft and probably engages in some match fixing on its own - was anyone really surprised when bad calls went in Brazil's favor in the opener, giving them the lead and keeping it for them? Players don't care much because the ones who take bribes obviously prefer the cash and the ones who don't are usually on the winning side. The whole system is set up against the interest of bettors, so why partake?

Nick PJuly 3, 2014 11:49 AM

@ Benni

Try to post off topic stuff in the Squid threads. That's one of the rules the Mod enforces to prevent tangents cluttering a discussion. You brought up a good point. I responded to it here in a previous discussion.

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