Leading integrity firm Sportradar said that match-fixing may rise due to the negative economic impact of Covid-19 and as corruption becomes more organized.
Corruption Grows More Organised
Match-fixers could even hide in plain sight by controlling teams and players through sponsorship deals, warned Tan You Chen, Sportradar’s senior manager, Integrity Partnerships Asia in Singapore. In the past match-fixers would approach players and could hope to corrupt two players per team.
By becoming sponsors, they are now able to bring up to 5 players of their own group to the team, which makes it easier to control, he adds.
“This problem is likely to have worsened during Covid-19 economic conditions,” said Tan You Chen. “Many clubs are struggling financially, some on the verge of bankruptcy and are in desperate need of funds.”
Match-fixers are more likely to target lower-league competitions, he added, as they do not attract the same level of attention and scrutiny than bigger events.
Spot-Fixing Also On The Rise
Spot-fixing, which consists of paying a player to underperform or write scripted-game will also increase, he warns. Players are more like to accept spot-fixing, as it does not affect the result of the match. More sports will be affected by this type of cheating.
“This phenomenon of spot-fixing is something that we witnessed before Covid and a lot of players and officials think it is not wrong. They feel they are still putting in their best efforts. Actually, when it comes to match-fixing, any type of fixing, even certain elements of the games, it is wrong. In cricket it can be restricted to what happens in a few overs, football the number of yellow cards or corners.”
“In basketball it is very common. Points shaving makes sure a team doesn’t win past a certain margin. It is likely to happen more frequently because it’s an easier fix and easier buy-in for the players. Ultimately, it is still wrong.”, he concluded.
Sportradar Monitors 400,000 Events Per Year
Sportradar works alongside the Asian Football Confederation and Hong Kong Football Association to fight corruption and match-fixing.
The company currently monitors more than 400,000 events per year across 60 sports, with ties with the NBA (National Basketball Association), NFL (National Football League), NHL, MLB, NASCAR, FIFA and Uefa.
Sportradar detects anomalies via betting trends and alerts its partners. This contributed to the successful arrest of corrupted players and match-fixers, such as Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey, who tried to fix a FIFA World Cup qualifier match between South Africa and Senegal in 2016.
Sportradar recently launched Insights, which allows sports media companies to deliver real-time data intelligence to consumers. It features the most user-friendly interface on the market and combines multiple Sportradar data sources to create real-time information feeds before, during, and after games.
The company’s data intelligence created by Insights facilitates gamification, increases sale opportunities and engages fans by providing better and richer stories. It also shares sports betting trends, game market data and statistics.