Wednesday, 19 Jun 2024

Match Fixing in Football

We’ve all experienced a sense of doubt when something suspicious happens during a party game or a raffle draw, like when the person conducting the draw seems to favor someone they know. Perhaps you’ve had your eye on a prize and suspect foul play, but you don’t want to cause a scene and ruin the event.

Now imagine if this happened in a football match. Thousands, if not millions, of passionate fans invest their time and emotions into every moment of a game. To discover that the outcome was predetermined before a ball was even kicked is nothing short of devastating.

The history of match-fixing in football is as old as the game itself. In this article, we will explore the concept of match-fixing, examine some high-profile cases from the past, and consider what it means for the future of the sport.

The History of Match Fixing in English Football

Liverpool Man Utd Match Fixing 1915
Liverpool / Man Utd Match Fixing 1915

As long as there have been incentives to gain or lose, corruption has unfortunately found its way into determining the outcome of matches. In the late 19th century, promotion and relegation in the Football League were not based on league standings. Instead, a precursor to modern-day playoffs called “Test Matches” was used, resembling a mini-league format.

In 1898, Stoke and Burnley faced each other in a Test Match game knowing that a draw would secure promotion for both teams. The match ended in a goalless draw, with critics condemning the blatant collusion between the two sides. This incident led to changes in the Football League’s structure and the eventual abandonment of the Test Matches.

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Another notable case occurred in 1915 when Liverpool faced Manchester United. Suspicion arose when United won 2-0 after a lackluster performance from Liverpool. It was later revealed that significant amounts of money had been wagered on that specific scoreline with odds of 7/1. The Football Association investigated and found evidence of player involvement from both teams. Seven footballers were banned for life as a result, although it helped United avoid relegation. It’s safe to say that such collusion between these rival teams is highly unlikely in today’s game.

High Profile Match Fixing Incidents

Argentina Team 1978

In 1978, Argentina hosted the World Cup and needed to win their final group game against Peru by at least four clear goals to advance to the final at the expense of Brazil. The hosts led 2-0 at halftime, and during the second half, Peru’s defense seemed to crumble, despite their reputation as one of the tournament’s best. Argentina went on to win the match 6-0.

Video footage showed Peru’s goalkeeper making little effort to save goals, and their defenders standing idly as Argentina’s players scored. Despite these suspicious circumstances, FIFA took no action and deemed everything to be legitimate. Adding to the skepticism, Argentina’s match was rescheduled until after Brazil’s game due to undisclosed “security concerns.”

A more recent high-profile incident occurred in Italy in 2006. This complex story can be summarized as top Italian clubs colluding with the head of the Italian Referee’s Association to manipulate the appointment of referees for their matches. Consequently, referees made biased decisions to favor the teams who influenced their selection, resulting in these teams winning more games.

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Following the revelations, Juventus, one of the main culprits, was stripped of their Serie A title and relegated to Serie B for the next season. Fiorentina and Lazio were also relegated, while AC Milan managed to remain in Serie A but started the following season with a fifteen-point deduction.

Fixing the Future

Chinese Betting Syndicate

As long as there is significant money involved in football, unscrupulous individuals will always be tempted by corruption. While we hope that the blatant fixing demonstrated by teams like Manchester United, Liverpool, Stoke, and Burnley remains a thing of the past, the evolution of the game and the increasing availability of betting options make it more likely that criminals will find new ways to exploit the system.

In recent years, betting syndicates in countries like China and Singapore have been uncovered, placing large sums of money on outcomes such as the number of throw-ins during a match. Although players are now prohibited from betting on games they participate in, we cannot assume that they won’t try to find ways to bypass these rules if the potential rewards outweigh the risks.

Monitoring betting activity serves as the primary indicator for authorities that something is amiss. However, whether they choose to act upon suspicious patterns is a different matter altogether.


Q: What is match-fixing?
A: Match-fixing refers to the manipulation of the outcome of a sports match for personal gain. It involves individuals or groups conspiring to influence the result in their favor through illegal means.

Q: Are there any preventative measures in place to combat match-fixing?
A: Authorities and sports organizations have implemented various measures to prevent match-fixing, including strict regulations, educational programs for players, and increased monitoring of betting activities.

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Q: Can match-fixing occur in other sports besides football?
A: While match-fixing is most commonly associated with football, it can happen in any sport where there is a financial or competitive incentive tied to the outcome.


Match-fixing poses a significant threat to the integrity of football and the trust of its passionate fans. While measures have been taken to prevent and punish those involved, the allure of financial gain can still entice individuals to engage in corrupt activities. It is crucial for authorities, organizations, and fans to remain vigilant and continue to prioritize fair play and the authenticity of the game. For more information about football news and updates, visit Movin993.