These modern times have witnessed a favorable rise in the popularity of sporting events and sports in general, one of the biggest being football which has amassed a staggering 2 billion followers worldwide based on estimates. These sports and the men and women who indulge in them have risen to dizzying heights of fame on an international scale and these games have made millionaires of many excellent participants. The famous golfer, Tiger Woods was proclaimed the first billionaire sportsman since the very beginning of sports in 2009. Another famous sportsman, regarded by many as the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, is a veritable billionaire as well.
These players can be said to have given a 100% performance in each outing and can also be said to have excelled 90% of those times they played. One cannot expect a completely perfect record as, despite being excellent sportsmen, they are also humans and have their good and bad days which can be brought on by illness, stress and other similar reasons. A few less than optimum performance can always be permitted. Owing to the popularity and profitability of these games, the occurrence of gambling within the management is relatively unavoidable. This occurrence of gambling is particularly glaring in one sport – FOOTBALL. These days, betting sites and reviews are rampant, with reasonable incentives.
I once stumbled upon one which read: Bet365 Review 2017 - Welcome Bonus Up to £200 online and I was reasonably tempted. Talking about the issue at hand, we can take a quick look at the world cup. During the games, it could be seen that there were more than 20 occurrences where the outcome of the match was greatly affected by a wrong call or no call by the referee or his assistants. To most viewers, these differences would have gone by unnoticed, but the same cannot be said for those who had bets on the match outcomes. According to popular belief, at least 5% of viewers bet on matches worldwide which would amount to about a 100 million viewers worldwide.
If we were to make an assumption and place the amounts being bet upon these matches at $10, that would make the value of each match a mouth-watering $1 billion. Keeping in mind that there were more than 30 matches played throughout the tournament, meaning there was more than $30 billion at stake, in just over a 30 day period, one can see how absolutely stunning this is. Upon observation, it can be seen that those past mistakes which were made by the referees or his assistants could easily have been avoided if the Federation Internationale de Football Association, otherwise known as FIFA which is the world governing body for football had agreed to install the video playback currently used by other sports like badminton and tennis. The playback only takes a few seconds and it would have taken out the únfair play’factor. The previous FIFA chairman, Joseph Blatter once spoke of ‘fairplay and respect’. His statement could only be described as a blatant irony. Millions were lost to syndicates and yet FIFA remained indifferent. Could it be rightly assumed that the gambling syndicates had their own support even within the governing body? These are valid questions. Going by this, it can be seen that football history would have been greatly changed if the playback technology was implemented. One need only cast one's mind back to the infamous ‘hand of god’incident involving Diego Maradona in his team’s match against England. The legendary player scored a goal with his hand, which by normal game rules should have been considered an immediate foul and not a goal as it ended up being ruled as. To further explain this, we will examine an example featuring a top team playing with a team ranked in the 70s.
The odds would be in favor of the top team and their odds of going through would possibly be about 3 or less to 1. This would mean that whoever bet on the top team would stand to win $30 or less if they bet $10. Now, assuming 10 million viewers did a similar thing, then we would be looking at a total stake of about $300 million. It would not be a stretch to assume that one can easily be bought for say $1 million when the stake is about $300 million right? I mean, it falls within reason. This kind of temptation is not one that can easily be ignored, especially when it is presented to a person earning about $100 to $200 per game. Now, we will take the same example, featuring a different betting stake. It should be noted that most bets are on a variable stake, meaning that the bet is broken down into several stakes. We will call the top team, team A and the ranked 70s team, Team B. In this case, we would be looking at something like this,
Looking at this sequence, if there is a case where Team B beats Team A or a case where both teams inexplicably draw, then the syndicates get profit. The issue of match-fixing is not exactly new to the game and there have been various incidents in the past involving referees and the assistants being involved in this act. Furthermore, even the players themselves have been involved in match-fixing in the past. With this being the case, one would assume that FIFA would jump at the opportunity to implement video playback technology and foster a smoother, less dirty sporting experience right? The mere fact that this technology, while available, has not yet been implemented, is in itself, the reason we ask these questions.