Match-fixing: The Current Discussion in Europe and the Case of The Netherlands

In: European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
Toine Spapens Department of Criminal Law, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands

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Marjan Olfers VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Match-fixing is a topic that captures the imagination of the public and increasingly attracts academic interest as well. Manipulation of sports games can be sports related, to achieve a better result for the team or a player, or gambling related to gain financially from the outcome. This paper describes the results of an empirical study of match-fixing in The Netherlands and analyses the main risk factors involved. These are social relations of persons involved in sports with criminals; the availability of the game for betting; financial difficulties of clubs, players and others who can influence the outcome of a match, and gambling addiction. Currently, match-fixing is high on the agenda of sports associations, gambling operators and government institutions on both the national and international levels. The ‘Convention on the manipulation of sports competitions’ drawn up by the Council of Europe encompasses a broad range of measures and can be viewed as the leading international initiative to curb match-fixing. Finally, we argue that the importance of sports in society requires more thorough and comparative empirical research of the scope and nature of the problem, on non-gambling related match-fixing, and on the relationship between sports-betting and manipulation.

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