What Are the Consequences of Match Fixing?
Match fixing scandals have hit sports, ranging from American collegiate athletics to professional cricket and sumo wrestling. In match fixing, players on a sports team collude with a bettor or sports book to assure that a match has a specific result. This allows a book to get more action on the side they know will lose by offering a favorable line, or for a bettor to place a large bet with a book knowing the player will assure the win.
Match fixing carries criminal punishment for both the bettor or sports book that arranged the fixing as well as any players that are in on the act. Punishments vary from country to country, however any individual found guilty of fixing a sporting event runs the risk of receiving stiff criminal punishments ranging from severe fines to imprisonment.
Teams or players found guilty of match fixing are subject to athletic repercussions which can have long-lasting effects on the organization or player's career. The most famous match fixing in American professional sports involved the heavily favored Chicago White Sox players colluding to lose the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds, leading to the players expulsion from the game and exclusion from the Hall of Fame for White Sox star "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. After match fixing was discovered in Serie A, the top soccer league in Italy, teams found guilty were subjects to points lost in the standings as well as demotions to lower tiers of Italian soccer.
Collegiate athletes also face the risk of academic punishments should they be found guilty of match fixing. A player proven to be involved in fixing is likely to lose his athletic scholarship. Match fixing will leave a player exposed to potential punishment for violations of the school's honor code, too, including expulsion from the school.
While those involved with match fixing face severe consequences if they are caught, fans suffer, too. Fans either see their team perform worse than they should or are hurt if the team later faces sanctions. The individuals most injured are the bettors or books who are victims of the fraud, who lose out on money on what was believed to be a fair bet.
Innocent players also fall victim to their teammates' illicit actions. As the matches are happening, the players who are giving their all and trying to win are unaware that despite their best efforts their teammates are working to ensure that they are not successful. Additionally, any sanctions handed down on a team hurt the innocent players as much as the cheaters.