Sports & Gambling – Where Is Sportsmanship?

It was only a couple of thousand years ago that sports was culminated by the Romans when they had what they called their own version of the Olympic games. The progress of these games saw what we now have as the modern day Olympics.

Since then, many other sports have risen in popularity in modern times with the biggest being football which is followed by almost 2 billion followers around the world. Many of these sports have made millionaires of the players who excel and represent their sports in the international arena.

The most famous being Tiger Woods (#1 ranked golfer in the world) who has been proclaimed as the 1st billionaire sportsman since the beginning of sports.

There is also Michael Jordan (rated by many as the greatest basketball player of all times) who is a few hundred million short of becoming a billionaire himself.

With these players one cannot easily say that they have not performed 100% each time they go out and play. Looking at their performance record it would be more easy to say that they have excelled 90% of the times they have played. Being humans we all have our bad days due to illness, stress, family issues etc. Thus, the few substandard performances.

But there are sports that is so glaringly transparent that gambling has got a hold in their hallowed halls of management. The sport that I am talking about is FOOTBALL.

Take the recent World Cup for example. There were more than 20 incidences where a wrong call or no call by the referee or linesman made a critical difference to the outcome of the match. This would seem insignificant to most viewers except those who had bets on the outcome of the game. And it is the belief that at least 5% of viewers bet on the matches around the world. This would amount to 100 million viewers globally. If the value of each bet was $10 that would make the value of each match a cool $1 billion. There were more than 30 matches throughout the tournament. That’s more than $30 billion at stake. Astounding isn’t it. Just over a period of about 30 days.

You see, the mistakes that were made by the referee or linesmen could have been avoided if FIFA (world governing body for football) had agreed to install the video playback which is currently used by other sports like tennis and badminton. It takes only a few seconds for the playback verification. It also takes out the ‘unfair play’ factor. Joseph Blatter (FIFA chairman) has made a statement on ‘fair play and respect’. What fair play? Millions were lost to syndicates. So why the indifference by FIFA? Could it be that the gambling syndicates have their support even within FIFA???

This means that past history on football could very well have changed if video playback technology was implemented and I would like to recall that most famous incident involving Diego Maradona and his ‘hand of god’ incident against England. He scored with his hand which is in effect a foul. Not a goal.

Let’s take a look at one example, a top team playing with a team ranked in the 70s. The odds of the top team going through would probably be 3 or less to 1. That means whoever betted on the top team stands to win $30 or less if they had betted $10. If 10 million viewers did the same thing then the stake of the match would be about $300 million. It is very easy to BUY someone for let’s say $1 million when the stake is $300 million wouldn’t you agree? It is very hard as a human to ignore this kind of temptation when you earn about $100 to $200 per game (as in the case of the linesmen and referees and to not make a call at a critical stage during the match).

Let’s take a look at the same example but with a different betting stake. Most bets are on a variable stake. That means that the bet is broken down into several stakes. Take team A (top team) and team X (ranked 70s). The bet would look something like this:

Team A beat Team X = Odds are 3 to 1

Team A beat Team X by 1 goal = Odds are 3 to 1

Team A beat Team X by 2 goals = Odds are 5 to 1

Team A draws with Team X (90 minutes) = Odds are 10 to 1

So if there is a result where Team X beats Team A or draws with Team A (full match including overtime), it’s all profits for the syndicates.

There have been recorded incidences in the past about referees and linesmen being involved in match fixing. There were also recorded incidences in the past about football players being involved in match fixing. So with all this sordid history, wouldn’t you think FIFA would want to implement video playback technology? If they have not done so and are postponing this glaring truth technology you have to ask yourself why? WHY?

This would not even be considered if video playback technology was implemented.