Are sports rigged – An investigation by the BBC and the digital medium BuzzFeed revealed that during the last decade, 16 players who have been among the 50 best in the world have been frequently pointed out to the Tennis Integrity Unit (ITU) on suspicion that they had participated in rigged matches.
- BBC reveals investigation into match-fixing with elite tennis players
All players allowed to continue competing.
Although the players’ names and the allegedly fixed matches have not yet revealed, this scandal highlights a latent problem of suspicious betting and result selecting in the world of sports that is not exclusive to tennis.
Brazilian Nelson Piquet Junior
may not be one of the most significant drivers to have passed through Formula 1. In fact, he never won a race, but he is still one of the most famous.
In large part because of his father, Nelson Piquet Souto Maior, a three-time world champion. But also because of the results of fixing the scandal in which he involved at the end of the 2000s.
It happened during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, on a track where passing another car is extremely difficult.
Piquet deliberately crashed his Renault car
to bring out a safety car on the way. Right after, his teammate, Fernando Alonso, made an unexpected and premature pit stop.
The safety car had to deployed, and the fastest cars in the competition trapped behind them.
Alonso, already on the freshest tyres, came out with an advantage out of the pits ahead of the pack.
The Spanish pilot won that race and maintained that he had no knowledge of the rigging that Piquet later confessed to.
After his dismissal from Renault a year later, the Brazilian told the International Automobile Federation (FIA). This organization regulates world car competitions, and the plan had orchestrated by the team boss, Flavio Briatore, and by a racing engineer, Pat Symonds.
Both Briatore and Symonds fired and banned from motorsports for life.
A short time ago, one of the world’s most expensive and popular leagues rocked by a scandal.
In early 2015, the Spanish Professional Soccer League (LFP) hired an independent body to investigate its suspicions of agreements between clubs, players, managers and representatives to fix matches in the 2013-2014 La Liga season.
The scandal ended with managers and footballers accusing each other, the discovery of money from tax havens and the use of false invoices.
The president of Osasuna, Miguel Archanco, went to prison, paying a bail of 500,000 euros (about US$550,000) to regain his freedom.
Osasuna disbursed 2.4 million euros (about US$2.7 million) to players from Espanyol, Betis and Valladolid to avoid relegation to the Spanish second division.
A similar scandal in El Salvador in 2013 left 14 players from the national soccer team suspended for life for fixing matches that benefited international betting networks.
Players have accused of receiving bribes in exchange for losing matches, such as when Mexico defeated the national team 5-0 in the 2011 Gold Cup.
But this small compared to what happened in Italy two years later.
In 2006 Italian police demonstrated that some of the biggest teams in Europe, including
Juventus, Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio influenced the appointment of referees for various matches.
The measures did not wait. Several points obtained in previous games were deducted from the teams, and high fines imposed.
At the centre of the scandal, Juventus stripped of two Serie A titles and relegated to Serie B.
For its part, the first accusations of agreements to fix matches in the English Premier League involved the players Bruce Grobbelaar, Hans Segars and John Fashanu in 1994.
Grobbelaar had been a goalkeeper during Liverpool’s golden days in the 1980s. Still, when he was playing for Southampton, he allegedly let several balls go through his net, allowing his team to lose in exchange for bribes.
Although he was not convicted or punished for lack of evidence, a court accused him of “acting in a way that no decent or honest footballer would act, undermining the integrity of a game that enjoys the loyalty and support of millions.”
But all scandals are not necessarily recent.
Nearly 100 years ago, in 1919, eight Chicago White Sox players accused of willfully forfeiting multiple World Series games against the Cincinnati Reds for money from gamblers.
Although they were later acquitted in court, the players were banned from baseball for life in what became known as the “Black Stockings Scandal.”
The case of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson stands out; the irrefutable star of the time was part of a group of eight, about which it still discussed if he had any idea what he was involved in.
Cricket, a popular sport in countries like the UK, India and Pakistan, has recently proven to be one of the most vulnerable to score-fixing.
The betting incentivizes match fixing the most, and an average Cricket short game offers 240 balls, which converts into 240 betting opportunities.
That happened in 2010. Three Pakistani players – Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif – arrested for accepting payments in exchange for specific actions during the game.
Three years later, a similar scandal broke out in the Indian Premier League. Sportsman Ajit Chandila received a lifetime ban for rigging results in 2013.
Viewership for the sport fell 14%, and the main sponsor Pepsi ended its relationship with La Liga. However, stadiums never lost spectators, and two years later, cricket appears to be as popular again as it was before the scandals.