A Sport, be it Football or Cricket or Tennis, is a religion that brings people from all over the planet together, and gives them a feeling that they belong and exist as one with their favorite sports team. People play them, watch them, follow them religiously and bet on them. Betting and sports go hand in hand sometimes. Betting involves trying to manipulate or control the outcome of a game with the involvement of money. There have been numerous scandals in Sports involving betting and has resulted in the unfortunate and untimely end of many careers.
What is “Sports betting”?
“Sports betting” is an act of placing a financial wager on the result of a Match. It is mostly applicable to famous sports like Football, Baseball, Basketball etc. Betting was not very prevalent until the age of the Internet. The technological advancements have a direct correlation with the increase in Sports Betting. Gradually, Sports betting is taking the form of fastest growing form of gambling. The Internet and the associated media technologies act as instruments to facilitate convenience in sports gambling.
There are a lot of betting websites and applications like TVG Horse Racing Betting, Sportsbook Game – Bookie, Onside Sports, 888 Sport, Betfair, Betfred Sports Betting etc. Surprising to know, the number of such websites and apps is increasing every day. These websites and apps are the cause of the convenience which is mentioned above. According to a study, children and young people, especially men are indulged in Sports Betting. This is the part of the population which seeks ways to find a source of passive income and pocket money. Also, they belong to the tech-savvy species who are proactive in adopting new technology trends and willing to take risks.
A recent trend of Betting in eSports
The betting is not limited up to physical sports but also, eSports. The eSports market is currently valued at $900 million(approximately) and it is evident that the numbers will surely increase. The presence of a hefty amount of money invites the presence of betters. The game runs according to the eSports guide, followed by enumerable bets made for the matches played. The industry is growing real quick and eSports betting is becoming a viable market.
General Gambling Activities and Sports Betting
Gambling activities like Casinos and Bitcoins is a great source of entertainment in a lot of countries. Activities like these not only promote entertainment and thrill but also, encourage local economics and income opportunities to a number of people.“Sports betting” is legal in some countries whereas in some countries it is not. But regardless of its legality, it leaves space for situations like ‘match-fixing’ and other scandals.
Since a lot of money is involved in betting, the people investing try their best to win. These attempts include fixing the match ascertain the win of the favored team. The extent of Betting relies on the fame of the Sport. The magnitude of betting is directly proportional to its fan following.
Feasibility of Sports Betting In Football
Football, some might say, is not a sport that can be easily manipulated by a third-party by just money. It is the biggest sport in the world. Unlike Cricket, it is not restricted to just European or only a few Asian countries, it has a global footprint from Japan to Africa, from Russia to Australia and countries all over the world. Another factor that makes it less vulnerable to betting is that it has 22 players, 11 each side, that work as a team to control the outcome of the game. In cricket, if 2 or 3 players are compromised, they can have a major impact on the game, like bowling the wrong deliveries, or dropping catches or giving away their wicket intentionally. In football, all the 11 players of a team work together and each one plays just as important a role as the other. A striker may score a goal, but the same can be done by a defender. You may think that someone has influenced the game by paying some players do not perform as well, but the manager is allowed to make 3 substitutions, and that plays a huge impact as the compromised player cannot make a difference while sitting on the bench.
And the last reason as to why football cannot be manipulated with money is that it already has money. It is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, sport in terms of money. An average player, at the young age of 22, earns about 130,000$ per week. So if someone wants to pay a player to perform poorly, it has to be a huge sum. Therefore, there is a room for betting in every sport but the fixing part varies in every sport.
The only way a football match can be affected or manipulated by money is by influencing the match referee. A referee plays the most crucial role in a football game. He has the power to make the most important decisions, like giving a Penalty, or Suspending a player with a Red Card, or calling Offside on a perfectly legal goal. And there have been incidents where the referee has performed, let’s just say, “Suspiciously” while making crucial decisions in the game.
Incidents of Scandals of Match Fixing in Football
In 2009, in the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final, Barcelona from Spain was up against Chelsea from England. Tom Henning Ovrebo turned down four penalty appeals by Chelsea as Andres Iniesta struck a late equalizer that put Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona through to the Champions League final on away goals. Ovrebo was sent death threats from furious Chelsea fans and was hounded by Chelsea players after the final whistle on the night, with Didier Drogba and Jose Bosingwa both receiving subsequent bans. It remains one of the most controversial refereeing performances in recent years, and the Norwegian’s officiating has been revisited by Spanish media ahead of Chelsea’s round of 16 fixture with Barcelona on Tuesday night.
In 2017, Real Madrid(Spain) were up against Bayern Munich (Germany). Bayern was winning on away goals, and it looked as if Madrid were on about to be knocked out of the competition with barely any time left. But against all odds, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a dramatic go-ahead goal against Bayern Munich and then completed a hat trick minutes later. But there’s one problem with both goals: The Real Madrid star was clearly offside. Twice.
The 2006 Italian football scandal, or Calciopoli in the Italian-speaking world, involved Italy’s top professional football leagues, Serie A and Serie B. The scandal was uncovered in May 2006 by Italian police, implicating league champions Juventus and other major teams including Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio and Reggina when a number of illegal telephone interceptions showed a thick network of relations between team managers and referee organizations, being accused of rigging games by selecting favorable referees.
These were the most controversial scandals in the History of Football related to fixing. Betting has become an integral part of Sports; it has taken up a form of a game and is known by every other person. There is no harm in betting, if only it is not destroying the spirit of the sport. If betting hinders the soul of a sport and pre-decides the outcome, it is unacceptable. It will always lead to such scandals and dismantle the charm of any popular sport, ensuring the loss of trust in its followers. Sports do not only entertain people, it also contributes to global peace. It is a means of national and international integration; match-fixing not only disturbs a game but affects the harmony between countries. The only solution to this problem is to keep a check on the betting system. It should be ensured that the betting does not reach the Sports ground, the course of game must not be affected.