During last week’s football match between Barcelona B and Eldense   in Group III, 2nd Division B  – which ended  12-0 for the home team,we witnessed some of the away  players reduced to tears.  This was, it seems, the latest episode of match  fixing by criminals in the betting world.

 First of all, we should bear in mind that this kind of fixing is not exclusive to football. Other sports, such as tennis -also suffer from  this occasionally. In tennis, the betting world moves large amounts of money and  some bookmakers sponsor certain  semi-professional tournaments such as ITF, and this  helps the sport  grow.

 On numerous occasions we have heard statements made  by elite athletes claiming that one of the scourges of current sport is betting and gamblers. I completely disagree with this point of view. It is true that there have been cases of fraud and that they damage the integrity of sport. It is also true that a business that  has grown as fast as  betting on sports  and that handles such enormous amounts of money is very prone to have cases like  last weekend’s football match. But why do we tar everyone with the same brush?


Many major sport clubs, big  tournaments and international competitions are sponsored by bookmakers, yet this rarely generates questions about  possible match fixing nor do the enormous betting companies receive any criticism. Therefore, why are the gamblers themselves being criticized then ? We must acknowledge the huge growth of betting in sport means a great surge of investment in sports through sponsorship.


After consulting various people related to the  betting world in order to write this column (specialists in tennis) I have come to the following conclusions: firstly,  those who fix  scores are not the gamblers or betting groups, but Mafia groups that take advantage of  sports betting to commit crimes. So it is a great injustice to blame this crime on the people who have never committed it. Secondly, bettors are  also the  victims of match fixing in many cases, since they bet on the statistical data of the event and, when mafias fix it, the results change radically and the bettors themselves lose large amounts of money due to this.

 In short, these mafias use sport, just as they use other areas, to profit from criminal activity and, as such, the criminal justice system act whenever they detect it. But to blame bettors, bookmakers or the competitions  as such for match fixing  is to fall into the  criminals’ trap- those who are truly responsible for this scourge.

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