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The vast majority of people are sports fan. Admittedly we all differ in terms of which sports hold our interest, but the love of sport extends to all nations, all people; it brings us together. It's no surprise then that people enjoy betting on sport too. As the TV advertisement says "it matters more when you bet on it" and it's hard to deny that it does ramp up the excitement of sporting spectacles.

It's not all rosy though, and unfortunately occasionally when we bet we're not all playing on an equal playing field. There's so much money to be made from predicting results that match fixing is a fact of life. The general consensus is that it's rare and largely a problem with the lesser leagues of sport (and often in countries where somebody flashing the cash can change a sportspersons motivation). There have been noteworthy cases in history of goalkeepers suspected to have been paid to let goals in, or tennis players throwing games, but many instances are much more subtle. A case in point is that you can bet on the number of throw-ins in a football game, and so if a player is willing or corrupt enough to intentionally increase that tally, it can be very profitable to those 'in the know'.

Match fixing can impact all and every sport and it's not always the obvious characters. Take Stephen Lee’s Snooker Ban. The talented player already had £2 million in career earnings when he was embroiled in a match fixing scandal. Suspicious betting patterns resulted in an independent tribunal where it was revealed that the player had influenced the outcome of seven matches over two years. His received a hefty 12 year ban as result. In soccer, Former Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar is another example of someone accused of match fixing. He was said to have received £40,000 to concede goals against Newcastle United. The exact truth of that may never be known and he was eventually found innocent of wrongdoing, however Lord Bingham stated that "He had in fact acted in a way in which no decent or honest footballer would act, and in a way which could, if not exposed and stamped on, undermine the integrity of a game which earns the loyalty and support of millions."

Of course, it pays to mention that, in general, sport is more professional and less corrupt than it's ever been. Confidence in the integrity of sport and betting is important and so it's common for betting companies to name and shame any example of cheating by a punter (via unusual betting patterns) and/or consequently a sportsperson that comes to light. This ensures the long term integrity of sport. I for one don't worry when placing a bet, as sport in general is 'clean'. However it can of course be intriguing and disappointing in equal measure to look into examples of sportspeople bending the law to their benefit and also the benefit of those trying to influence them.

Thanks

Garets The Winner