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Fixing the Match-Fixing
January 11, 2013 00:07

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Russia is adamant to ensure fair play rules on the pitch as it is getting ready to host its first World Cup event in 2018.

Causes of match-fixing

Kevin Carpenter, executive contributor to, explores several reasons why corruption in sports is rife despite the risks involved.

In his paper, ‘Match-Fixing – The Biggest Threat to Sport in the 21st Century?’, he names a. the appeal of money, b. spot-fixing, when neither side is not interested in a particular result, c. serious underpayment.  

Situation in Russia

In a survey of nearly 3,400 players from Eastern Europe, FIFPro, the global union for professional players, said that match-fixing in Russia was as high as 43.5 percent.

There’ve been reports on betting tips sold online for those who wanted to capitalize on pre-determined results.

The latest scandal involved a match between Anzhi Makhachkala and Amkar football clubs on November 26, 2012.

Russian soccer officials launched a probe into it after reports of large bets by a number of ex-Amkar players against their former team.

However, the match-fixing committee was soon dissolved before it could rule on the match won by Anzhi, 2-1.

Other suspicious cases have been overlooked by the law enforcement agencies, and that’s what’s been aggravating the situation.

At the International Sport Security Conference, held in Qatar last March, former FIFA’s head of security Chris Eaton said: "I don't think any country in the world can be totally immune from it. Right now, FIFA's priority is Africa and South-East Asia but Russia will also be closely looked at, especially after being awarded the World Cup in 2018".

Legislation is key

The new bill submitted to the national parliament sends a stark warning to match-fixers.

The package includes amendments into the Law on Physical Culture and Sports, into the Criminal and Tax Codes and the Code on Administrative Offences.

First of all, it provides a clear definition for ‘illegal influence over the results of an official sports event’. It includes bribing sportsmen, referees, coaches, club officials, tournament organizers and other stakeholders or forcing the subjects mentioned to exert influence or entering in collusion.

Bribing includes offering:

·         money,

·         securities,

·         property,

·         providing services or any other benefits.

Crime and Punishment

Fines would be raised from 300,000 to 1 million roubles, or some $30,000. Match-fixers will now face prison terms of 7 years.

Police would be given the go-ahead to use wire-tapping during investigation of such cases.

A person suspected of the malpractice would be suspended by the relevant sports federation and banned from sport if found guilty in court. If the federation fails to act on such cases, it will be stripped of its licence.

Athletes, coaches, referees and federation officials would be allowed to bet only on the results in those sports they aren’t involved in.

New role for bookmakers

Bookmakers would be charged with a new function – under the bill, they will have to pay the income tax for the gamblers to the tax agencies.

Bookies would also have to request ID before receiving bets or giving prize money away.


During the conference, Eaton laid out a plan to get rid of fixing saying the Russians have a very good chance of success.

"First, you need good government structure. Then you have to have information or what we call the intelligence operation. And finally, you must implement that in practice.

Kevin Carpenter proposes his own code of conduct, featuring five guiding principles:

1. Be Smart: know the rules.

2. Be Safe: never bet on your sport.

3. Be Careful: never share sensitive information.

4. Be Clean: never fix an event.

5. Be Open: tell someone if you are approached.

More info on the situation with fixing in Europe is available here and here, Carpenter’s paper can be found here.

Author: Mikhail Vesely

Tags: Russian sports Russian football Anzhi Makhachkala Amkar Russian laws 

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