Match Fixing: How gambling ruins the credibility of sports

Over recent years, it has become rather evident that the facets and areas which were previously divorced from criminality, are not so free from their influence anymore. One such domain is that of sports. I have perpetually tried to circumvent politics because most politicians today are considerably substandard when we talk about human dignity, ethics and morals, however, when this dirty play enters the facet of sports, match-fixing is the resultant progeny. Sport is a worldwide phenomenon connecting billions of people and producing yearly incomes of upwards of 145 billion USD. Like elsewhere, corruption in sports is not an alien concept. It has been addressed previously, but now it permeates sports like football, cricket, athletics and badminton amongst countless others. Match-Fixing comprises a nexus of individuals whose primary intent is to control the outcomes of a game or smaller details within. The latter is called spot-fixing and includes attempts to acquire a specific number of toss-ins, corners, focuses played, and so on. As a rule, this action is more inclined to spot as the activities do not significantly affect the result of a game. In toto, fixing is a co-ordinated wrongdoing. Apart from other material gains, it is also pursued for tax exemption. Moreover, sports have an element of public interest, played and viewed by billions, whose tax dollars facilitate the hosting of major games. Albeit it is an essential point to note that it is operated and coordinated exercising autonomy, with sports associations, local confederations or public affiliations enjoying ‘non-benefit’ or ‘non-legislative associations’ statuses in several purviews. This permits them to work without any successful exterior oversight. Match Fixing occurs when the match is played to a totally or partly pre-decided result, eroding the very foundation of the concept of a game and abusing the law. The most widely acknowledged explanation is to get a monetary gain from gamblers. In some cases, groups purposefully perform poorly to gain a future advantage. For example- a superior draft pick or, a less prominent adversary in a play-off. Further, match-fixing for the most part implies fixing the eventual outcome of the sport. In the past, there have been several instances where match-fixing and bribing have taken place. The Ancient Olympics constantly managed claims of competitors taking hush-money to lose a competition and city-states which frequently attempted to control the result with a lot of cash. These exercises went on despite the oath every competitor took to secure the honesty of the occasions and the serious discipline in some cases dispensed on the individuals who were caught. The developing worthwhile nature of the game itself and the improvement of the betting industry, which found a strong ground for various kinds of bets, pushed sports into the spotlight: it is no longer just a movement and the performance of sentimental enthusiasts but a strong source of revenue for athletes, sports authorities, clubs, associations, as well as individuals betting on it and those arranging bets. Sports associations and states are staring at a very dangerous phenomenon, which does not have economic consequences but does destroy the very spirit of sports. The spirit of sports is the sole reason which was- and still is pulling in a large number of individuals participating in various games at various levels. Destroying this spirit by illegally weaving the results or courses of competitions may destroy the essence of sports itself and may have a humongous impact. In addition, betting organizations have realised that the watchdogs of professional sports are toothless as authorities and competitors are often underpaid. In any case, these groups have found success seeping into the biggest sports leagues in the world including scandals at the highest levels of competition: Firstly, the Black sox scandal in the 1919 World Series, which was among the most controversial scandals in American history. Second, the match between West Germany v/s Austria in 1982, then the Calciopoli scandal (2006) in Italy’s Series, the Tim Donaghy scandal, the Boston College point-shaving basketball scandal, Nikolay Davydenko, the renowned Tennis player who was involved in match-fixing, the Nigerian Football Federation which was accorded a lifetime ban after getting caught red-handed in fixing scandals and the Indian Premier League Cricket Fixing in 2013. Yes, even cricket is no longer a stranger to spot-fixing, and the list continues with many more scandals of the same. In response, a few sports associations, fixing watchdogs and public foundations in various nations utilized, at an initial phase, a variety of measures to fight other forms of illegal conduct. Before long, it was evident that in certain nations this is insufficient, and consequently, tailor-made measures were devised to fight this new phenomenon called ”Match Fixing”, which no doubt, had taken everyone by surprise. Now, this phenomenon is proliferating and spreading its reach- there are almost no countries or sports competitions free from this evil. “Match Fixing” has morphed into a worldwide phenomenon and in that capacity, it must be attended to, globally. A thorough analysis of the existing legal framework will result in better and tighter regulations and avoid an excessively unreasonable improvement to carry more mischief to sports than match-fixing itself. The present study is an endeavour to accomplish both: to show ways to considerably better and ameliorate future criminal law measures countering match-fixing and to guarantee no room for misuse. Although criminal law is normally is a part of public law, the transnational idea of combatting criminality, for example, a globally coordinated wrongdoing drove the global network to take activities outfitted towards creating a global instrument which is focused on, among others, advancing concurrent public methodologies, particularly in the field of criminalization, encouraging global participation in combating crimes. The UNTOC and the UNCAC are two instances of those instruments. To conclude, the control of sports results or match-fixing is a hazardous nature of criminality. It merits attempting to check whether the current criminal law tools at a national and international level, can likewise, be utilized for efficient responses to match-fixing. National information evaluated for the motivations behind examination indicates; showing that the current public and global measures or their blend, do not appear to be determined carefully by the national legislator and the present study intends to guide this effect. In the race of making strict laws against match-fixing, Sri Lanka became the first South Asian country to condemn offences identified with coordinate fixing in its “Anticipation of Offenses Related to Sports” Bill. Subsequently, it is hoped that future examination will set up strategies to prevent Match-Fixing and build a model to identify such conduct, by considering the measures suggested in the current study.

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