match fixing


  • Games that are deliberately lost are sometimes called “thrown games”, especially when a team has nothing to play for (either having already qualified for the next stage of
    competition or in the process of being eliminated.)

  • In the 1983–84 season, several teams were accused of deliberately losing games in an attempt to gain a top position in the 1984 draft, which would eventually produce four
    Hall of Fame players.

  • The Badminton World Federation found the four pairs guilty of “not using one’s best efforts to win a match” and “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or
    detrimental to the sport.”[15] • In the women’s football tournament, Japan intentionally played a draw with South Africa in Cardiff, allowing it to finish second in its group so it would not have to travel to Glasgow, more than 300 miles away,
    for the first round of the knockout stage.

  • More favorable schedule next year[edit] NFL teams have been accused of tanking games to obtain a more favorable schedule the following season; this was especially true between
    1977 and 1993, when a team finishing last in a five-team division would get to play four of its eight non-division matches the next season against other last-place teams.

  • [7] In the Canadian Football League, since the introduction of the cross-over rule, Western teams have been occasionally accused of tanking near the end of the season in situations
    where a loss would cause them to finish fourth place in their division and where such a finish was still good enough to secure a berth in the league’s East Division playoffs.

  • [18] The loser would thus avoid Blackman until the regional final, a game whose participants would both advance to the sectional tournament (one step short of the state tournament).

  • Although Italy beat Bulgaria by only one goal to finish level with Sweden and Denmark on five points and would hypothetically have been eliminated using the FIFA tie-breaker
    too, some Italian fans bitterly contended that the FIFA tie-breaker would have motivated their team to play harder and deterred their Scandinavian rivals from, in their view, at the very least half-heartedly playing out the match after the
    score became 2–2.

  • In recent years, the East has often been viewed to be a weaker division than the West; however, if any Western team has actually attempted such a strategy, it has not paid
    significant dividends for them in view of the fact that, up to and including the 2014 season, Western cross-over teams have only won a single Eastern playoff game, and have never advanced to the Grey Cup championship game from the Eastern

  • Partly as an effort to avoid this sort of controversy, early World Series sometimes saw all scheduled games played even if the Series winner was already determined.

  • Unlike FIFA, UEFA takes the result of the game between the two tied teams (or in a three-way tie, the overall records of the games played with the teams in question only)
    into consideration before overall goal difference when ranking teams level on points.

  • For example, the disgraced former National Basketball Association referee Tim Donaghy has been alleged to have perpetrated some of his fixes by calling games in such a manner
    as to ensure more points than expected were scored by both teams, thus affecting “over-under” bets on the games whilst also ensuring that Donaghy at least did not look to be outright biased.

  • One of the earliest examples of this sort of match fixing in the modern era occurred in 1898 when Stoke City and Burnley intentionally drew in that year’s final “test match”
    so as to ensure they were both in the First Division the next season.

  • Among other things, the so-called “Brush Rules” stipulated that the players would only receive a share of ticket revenue from the first four games, thus eliminating any financial
    incentive for the players to deliberately prolong the World Series.

  • [20][21] Even though the lottery in place through the 2018 draft gave the team with the worst record only the same chance at the top pick as the 2nd and 3rd worst teams (with
    that team guaranteed no worse than the fourth pick), there was still perceived incentive for a team to tank.

  • Because the players received a percentage of the gate receipts for postseason games (a privilege they did not enjoy in the regular season), there was a perception that the
    players had an incentive to fix an equal number of early games in favor of each team so as to ensure the series would run the maximum number of games (or very close thereto).

  • In contrast, when a team intentionally loses a game, or does not score as high as it can, to obtain a perceived future competitive advantage, the team is often said to have
    “tanked” the game instead of having thrown it.

  • [17] On the other hand, the practice of coaches on a playoff-bound team deliberately benching a team’s best players for some or all of the final match(es) of the regular season
    is often defended as a common sense measure to avoid unnecessarily risking injuries and fatigue to the team’s star players.

  • [9] As the two teams involved – Thailand and Indonesia – had both already qualified for the semi-finals, it was in both teams’ interest to lose the match and finish in second

  • This lottery system prevented teams from receiving fixed draft positions based on record place, which the league hoped would discourage them from deliberately losing.

  • There have been incidents (especially in basketball) where players on a favored team have won the game but deliberately ensured the quoted point spread was not covered (see
    point shaving).

  • [11][12] In 2012, Major League Baseball added a second wild card in each league, with the two wild cards playing a single-elimination game in order to give more importance
    to winning the division.

  • Proponents of the UEFA tie-breaker argue that it reduces the value of blow-outs, whether these be the result of a much stronger team running up the score or an already-eliminated
    side allowing an unusually large number of goals.

  • Since the Czechs had already clinched first place in the group, this move was seen to have the potential to allow Germany a better chance get the win they needed to advance
    at the expense of the winner of the Netherlands–Latvia game.

  • Abuse of tie-breaking rules[edit] On several occasions, creative use of tie-breaking rules have allegedly led teams to play less than their best.

  • [19] Some argue that a coach should not only have the right to select a starting lineup for a match that gives the team the best chances of winning titles in the long run — should
    this be a different lineup than the one that gives the team the best chances of winning the game at hand — but that doing so is the smartest course of action.

  • As a result, by losing a match, a team can face an easier opponent in the next round, making them more likely to win.

  • However, in 2014–15, two elite prospects widely considered to be “generational talents,” Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, were projected to enter the 2015 NHL Entry Draft,
    thus ensuring the last place team at least one of the two prospects.

  • [31] Similarly, a National Football League (NFL) team has also been accused of throwing its final regular-season game in an attempt to keep a rival out of the playoffs.

  • Also, bets are increasingly being taken on individual performances in team sporting events, which, in turn, has seen the rise of a phenomenon known as spot fixing although
    it is now unlikely that enough is bet on average players to allow someone to place a substantial wager on them without being noticed.

  • Effective with the 2019 draft, the teams with the three worst records have equal odds of landing the #1 pick (barring one of these teams also owning another lottery team’s
    pick), and the top four picks are allocated in the lottery instead of the top three.

  • Competitors may also intentionally perform poorly to gain a future advantage, such as a better draft pick[A] or to face an easier opponent in a later round of competition.

  • One notorious example of this particular type of alleged fix was the 1909 Scottish Cup Final, which sparked a riot after being played twice to a draw.

  • [8] The 1998 Tiger Cup – an international football tournament contested by countries in Southeast Asia – saw an example of two teams trying to lose a match.

  • Until the 2014–15 NHL season, the National Hockey League assured the last place team of at least the second position in its entry draft, with the first overall pick being
    subject to a draft lottery among the five worst teams.

  • [17] The winner of the game would enter the same side of the regional tournament bracket as defending state champion[17] Blackman High School (ranked as one of the country’s
    top 10 teams by some national publications), setting up a potential match in the regional semifinals.

  • The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the only one of the four major professional sports leagues of the United States and Canada in which home advantage in the playoffs
    is based strictly on regular-season record without regard to seeding.

  • [6] Better playoff chances[edit] Many sports have tournaments where the result of one round determines their opponent in the next round.

  • [23] The Australian Football League, the main competition of Australian rules football, has used a system of priority draft picks since 1993, with poorly performing teams
    receiving extra selections at or near the start of the draft.

  • Match fixing includes point shaving and spot-fixing, which center on smaller events within a match that can be wagered upon, but which are unlikely to prove decisive in determining
    the final result of the game.

  • The 2012 Summer Olympics saw two examples of tanking of this type: • Members of four badminton teams from China, Indonesia and South Korea were ejected from the women’s doubles
    tournament for intentionally losing matches to allow better pairings in the knockout stages of the competition.

  • As NHL drafts typically include only one NHL-ready prospect, if any at all, in any given year (most others must continue developing in junior ice hockey or the minor leagues
    for several years before reaching the NHL), this rudimentary lottery has historically been enough of a deterrent to avoid deliberate tanking.

  • Another example took place on the next-to-last weekend of the 1992–93 Serie A season.

  • Often, substitutions made by a coach designed to deliberately increase the team’s chances of losing (such as having key players sit out, using minimal or phantom injuries
    as an excuse), rather than ordering the players actually on the field to intentionally underperform, are cited as the main factor in cases where this has been alleged.

  • Intentional loss to prejudice third-party rival[edit] A team may deliberately lose a match, giving a victory to the opposing team that damages a third-party rival.

  • [37] Although the Denmark–Sweden game above led to calls for UEFA to adopt FIFA’s tiebreaking formula for future tournaments, it is not clear if this solves the problem; the
    Argentina-Peru game shows a possible abuse of the FIFA tie-breaker.

  • [10] In the final month of the 2010 Major League Baseball season, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays were in a tight race for the American League East division title
    and by the final week, both teams had already clinched at least the wild card.

  • The Somerset players calculated that a large enough loss could see them miss the quarter-finals.

  • In the current scheduling formula which has been in place since 2002 and slightly amended in 2021, only three games in a team’s schedule are dependent on a team’s placement
    the previous season.

  • In response, the Football League expanded the divisions to 18 teams that year, thus permitting the intended victims of the fix (Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers) to remain
    in the First Division.

  • As a result, a team may have a significant incentive to tank games to secure a higher pick in the league’s next draft, and a number of leagues have changed their draft rules
    to remove (or at least limit) potential incentives to tank.

  • Going into that match, Somerset led their group with three wins from three matches, but would end in a three-way tie for the top spot if they lost to Worcestershire and Glamorgan
    defeated the then-winless Minor Counties South.

  • Better draft position[edit] Main article: Tanking (sports) Most top-level sports leagues in North America and Australia hold drafts to allocate young players to the league’s

  • In 2022, the postseason was further expanded, adding a third wild card and making the round a best-of-three series.

  • Eventually, following the controversy at the conclusion of the 1904 season in which the New York Giants boycotted the World Series in part because of dissatisfaction with
    the financial arrangements surrounding the Series, Major League Baseball agreed to a number of reforms proposed by Giants owner John T. Brush.

  • In organized sports, match fixing is the act of playing or officiating a match with the intention of achieving a pre-determined result, violating the rules of the game and
    often the law.

  • Tie-breaking rules played the central role in one of cricket’s more notorious matches.

  • Many sports writers have speculated that in leagues with high player salaries, it is far more likely for a referee to become corrupt since their pay in such competitions is
    usually much less than that of the players.

  • As a result, FIFA changed its tournament scheduling for subsequent World Cups so that the final pair of matches in each group are played simultaneously.

  • For example, during Euro 2004 the Czech Republic rested nearly all of its starters from the first two group matches for the final group match against Germany.

  • In a 2004 retrospective on the “dodgiest games” in football history, two British journalists said about the match, “For over 80 minutes, the two teams engaged in a shameful
    game of cat-and-mouse, in which the cat appeared to have fallen asleep and the mouse was on tranquilisers.”

  • A more recent example occurred in the 1982 FIFA World Cup, West Germany played Austria in the last match of group B.

  • One such attempt was described by retired footballer Matthew Le Tissier, who in 2009 admitted that while he was playing with Southampton FC back in 1995, he tried (and failed)
    to kick the ball out of play right after the kick-off of a Premier League match against Wimbledon FC so that a group of associates would collect on a wager made on an early throw-in.

  • Additional allegations came up in 2012, when Yankees general manager Brian Cashman commented in response to a possible playoff expansion that his team had “conceded the division”
    and that winning it meant “nothing more than a T-shirt and a hat”.

  • This was most prominent with the Buffalo Sabres, whose fans openly rooted against their team in the hopes they would clinch last place in the league for much of the season
    (the Sabres themselves denied they were tanking and openly criticized their fans for suggesting the notion).

  • The most lopsided professional football match in history, AS Adema 149–0 SO l’Emyrne, was a result of SO l’Emyrne intentionally losing the game in protest against the referee’s
    action in a previous game.

  • From 1966 to 1984, the NBA used a coin flip between the teams with the worst records in each of the league’s two conferences to determine the recipient of the top pick.

  • Prior to 2012, a team automatically received a priority pick if its win–loss record met pre-defined eligibility criteria.

  • Conversely, there are cases where a team not only lost (which might be honest) but lost by some large amount, perhaps to ensure a point spread was covered, or to grant some
    non-gambling related favor to the victor.

  • Individual performance in team sports[edit] Bookmakers in the early 21st century accept bets on a far wider range of sports-related propositions than ever before.

  • Since 2004, separate scandals have erupted in prominent sports leagues in Portugal,[dead link][25] Germany (Bundesliga scandal), Brazil (Brazilian football match-fixing scandal)
    and the United States (see Tim Donaghy scandal), all of which concerned referees who fixed matches for gamblers.

  • Argentina needed a four-goal victory over Peru in order to advance over Brazil, a large margin at this level of competition, yet Argentina won 6–0.

  • The same situation happened to Italy in 2012, leading to many pre-game complaints from Italy, who many commentators suggested were right to be concerned because of their own
    extensive experience in this area.

  • The 1–1 draw gave Milan their title, but in the end did not help Brescia; other results went against them and they suffered the drop.

  • As it happened, the Czechs’ decision to field a “weaker” side did not matter since the Czechs won the match anyway to eliminate the Germans.


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Photo credit:’]