Friendly Football Matches – A Breeding Ground for Fixed Matches

            Between the years 2016 and 202, many European clubs have shown suspicious activities. In this regard, 2-year research was conducted by Rowdie. The research aimed to filter out occurrences of suspicious activities and match-fixing incidents and was funded by the supporters of 

            The study took into account records from 630 players coming from Bulgaria, Romania, and Cyprus. The revelation claimed that about 26.5% of the players selected had many suspicions that the results of several friendly matches were manipulated. Further investigations by the research team also revealed that club officials also played a major role in this match-fixing game and 16.9% of the total approaches originated from them. Even players were a part of the circle and 12.9% of the approaches originated from them. It was also found out that club officials were the major beneficiaries in 24.6% of the approach cases.

            Since strong regulatory methods are unavailable, such rampant occurrences of match manipulation and fixing are prevalent. One has to consider the fact that football clubs originating from different countries will come to a third country to play the friendly match. This setup puts a bar on the regulations and monitoring such incidents of match manipulations becomes difficult. There are also many unregulated betting operators spread throughout, who, unlike the regulated and licensed betting operators, are not duty-bound to report suspicious activities.

            Competitive matches have a greater degree of regulations and thus the Rowdie research team claims that such occurrences are infrequent. The research revealed that if friendly matches are governed along the same lines as a competitive match, then such occurrences could be minimized. Another key factor to improve the standards and reduce fixed matches would be to introduce operators coming from jurisdictions with a strong sense of regulating such incidents.

Why are friendly games a problem?

There is nothing important about the results of friendly clashes (if you can call it a clash). Coaches use friendlies to test new players, the compatibility of a squad or simply different line-ups. We see strange results in friendlies all the time. We might even say that an exception here is a rule. So why does it matter? The answer is more than obvious – betting. 

Any sportsbook has a selection of friendlies that you can bet on. Monthly there are dozens of fixtures and thousands of markets to bet on. Friendly games are not as popular as other leagues, but In circulation there are millions in bets and it is for sure worth the effort. The problem of match fixing is believed to be declining, but as the major football leagues are really getting better, other ones or other sports are on the other hand rising.

What is the solution? The obvious one is to prohibid betting but is that really the best solution? Betting is a multi billion business and just like other industries (alcohol production…) show some red flags, no other solution than regulation and fines seems to be a good solution. Authorities believe not enough promotion to anti match-fixing campaigns is being made. It is obvious that match fixing can destroy any potential career and a player who is making a fortune should think twice. So here we come to the obvious question: What about those average ones? Well, in this case prison should be even a better red flag. Right?

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