Issues in Physical Activity and Sport Essay Example

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Lecturer

Match Fixing in Sports

Occasionally, athletes are faced with the temptation to win unfairly. It is even more interesting that at times the same athletes, who practice so hard to win, lose intentionally and are happy about it. Match fixing by game officials or athletes is seldom new. According to Hustings et al. (9), it is described as spot-fixing, sporting fraud or sport manipulation. Match fixing happens when matches are played to a partially or completely predetermined outcome (Bodin and Sempé 177). Usually, it occurs because of illegitimate sports gambling. The history of sports gambling is long and clearly troubled. However, it currently involves a public and official version in state-run lotteries’ form (Bodin and Sempé 177).

The 1915 match-fixing incident involving Liverpool and Manchester United in favour of the latter is the oldest traceable incident of match-fixing (Caruso 2). Faced with the risk of relegation, Manchester United needed to win the match against Liverpool to avoid it. Liverpool players played to lose the game. Manchester United won the match by two goals to zero and avoided relegation (Caruso 2). Pretson and Szymanski portray this as a common occurrence in tournaments with relegation and promotion with increased incidence towards ends of play seasons where a competitor team is at risk of relegation (618).

Ethical considerations surrounding match fixing in sport include the presence of unlawful betting associated with criminal activities and money laundering (Bodin and Sempé 177).

Match fixing practices often involve bribing, which undermines the supremacy of legal frameworks set up by the respective sporting authorities. Such practices are an outright and obvious threat to the fairness ideal according to Bodin and Sempé (177). In addition, match fixing results in deception of the sporting fraternity and the entire public in the end. This is because competition ceases to be real (Bodin and Sempé 177) and the thrill that comes with genuine competitiveness from participating in and watching a match is often compromised. Although most people perceive match fixing negatively, it has the advantage of reducing stress and strain levels of athletes in a match since they already expect predetermined results without trying as hard as they do in other competitions. Often, athletes and sporting teams that are approached with proposals to fix matches tend to reap financial benefits or advantages such as meeting weaker teams at advanced tournament levels.

The rationale informing and motivating match fixing differs. At times, loss of matches is strategic. For example, a football match may have no sporting importance to a team in the broader setting of a series where the outcome is already predetermined and such a team may fail to make any effort to win (Bodin and Sempé 177). It is possible that this stands out as challenge to competition quality and fairness as opposed to having considerable moral problem to sport. However, sometimes better competitors remain in the competition and this adds to the competitiveness of the sport and therefore the thrill for fans. However, the predetermination of results that happens because of external pursuit for profits and corruption may qualify as a comparatively more serious problem (Bodin and Sempé 177).

Based on the arguments cited here, the disadvantages of match fixing in sports outweigh its advantages. Although its major motivator is betting and structure of tournaments, match fixing appears to be a tactical strategy with reduced moral and ethical impact at times. However, this is not enough to support match fixing in sports as it undermines the quality of competition, deceives all concerned parties and undermines the integrity of the sport. In conclusion, there is need for concerned authorities and all stakeholders to ensure the enforcement of all necessary measures to curb match-fixing incidences.

Works Cited

Bodin, Dominique and Gaelle Sempé. Ethics and Sport in Europe. Paris: Council of Europe Publishing, 2011. Print.

Caruso, Raul. “The Economics of Match-Fixing.” Munich Personal RePEc Archive (MPRA) MPRA Paper No. 3085 (2007): 1-34. Print.

Husting, Alexandre, María Iglesias, Philippe Kern and Zivile Buinickaite. Match-Fixing in Sport: A Mapping of Criminal Law Provisions in EU 27. KEA European Affairs, 2012. Print.

Preston, Ian and Stefan Szymanzski. “Cheating in Contests.” Oxford Review of Economic Policy 19.4 (2003): 612-624. Print.