Spot Fixing in English Premier league
On the back of Pakistan cricket teams spot fixing scandal one has to wonder how clean is the English game and could it be also targeted by bookies if it has not been already.
First we must understand what spot fixing is. It is different from match fixing. Match fixing sees a games out come manipulated but spot fixing deals with a specific incident in the game such as bookings, throw ins, corners etc. This form of fixing will be harder to detect and though might not have a direct link to the final result of the game it could still have influence in the final result.
The English game has already has at least one incident of spot fixing scandal. Matt Le Tissier admits in his biography about him trying to take advantage of spread betting in a game against Wimbledon in 1995. This particular case involves a throw in. Now the throw in might not directly affect the game but it is possible that this could easily lead to a goal and hence influence the game.
Now one argument put forward is that Premier league footballers are well paid and there is no need for them to risk all this buy getting caught in such acts. Which on the surface of it sounds a strong argument, but if recent history is anything to go by no amount of money is enough for most of modern day footballers and further they are hugely influenced by those who are around them.
Last year it was alleged that the then England captain try to rent out his Wembley box as well as being accused of selling tours into his club’s training facilities without the knowledge of the management.
Now he is one of the highest paid footballers in the world and he was still the captain of England national team when this alleged incident took place. This is one small example of how today’s footballers are driven by money, with some exceptions, and that they could be easily influenced by the lure of money.
Another factor we must consider is what might have driven these Pakistan cricketers towards these corrupt bookies. These players travel around the world and are often in close contact with fellow players of other nations when they are on tour. If one looks closely at these players’ back ground it is easy to realize that they earn significantly less than what their fellow professionals in the game.
Human nature is such that they would want to live a life style that will nearly match that of their fellow professionals all around the world. But the money they are paid by Pakistan cricket board is far from enough for that and they will have to turn to other means to bridge the gap.
Now apply this to the PL and it is very clear that there is a significant gap between what a player earns in a top club to that of what a player will be earning in a smaller club on the fringes of PL.
Football has always been a sport that has always had strong links to bookies and the amount of money changing hand in bookies over a Saturday afternoon is staggering, and one has to wonder when the money at stake is such high is it not inevitable that there will be some who will look to corrupt the system for their personal gains?
Further, another factor that must be considered in the wake of the cricket spot-fixing scandal is that of where these bookies have approached the players. It is also reported that both Bangladesh and Australian players were also approached while they were touring in England and add to that the allegation against a couple of Essex cricket players, it is very clear that these corrupt bookies operate from England and how long before they approach a footballer or even worse a match official.
It all leads me to wonder how clean is our beautiful game? After all most of top European countries (Germany, Italy, Turkey) have faced match fixing scandals already.
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