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Betting scandals

Historically, sports betting has been associated with a number of unsavory characters, which has a lot to do with its desultory legal treatment throughout the world. Organized crime notoriously has relied upon sports betting for money laundering or funding purposes. The corruption or threat of a boxer to take a dive at the x round is a frequent theme in mafia-related movies. All of the American professional sports leagues, as well as the National College Athletic Association (NCAA), take stringent measures to disassociate themselves from sports gambling. Nevertheless, sports history is riddled with several incidents of athletes conspiring with gamblers to fix the outcomes of sporting events, or criminals acting against athletes whose on-field performance affected their wagers.

  • In 1919, gamblers bribed several members of the Chicago White Sox to throw the World Series. This became known as the Black Sox Scandal and was recounted in book and movie form as “Eight Men Out”.
  • In 1978, mobsters connected with the New York Lucchese crime family, among them Henry Hill and Jimmy Conway, organized a point shaving scheme with key members of the Boston College basketball team.
  • Andrés Escobar, a Colombian defender, was murdered shortly after his return from the 1994 World Cup, where he scored an own goal, the first of a 2-1 defeat to the USA that knocked out the Colombians at the first phase. In the most believed explanation, the Medellín drug cartel bet large sums of money that Colombia would advance, and blamed the Medellín-born Escobar for the loss.
  • In 1994, a comprehensive point shaving scheme organized by campus bookmaker Benny Silman and involving players from the Arizona State University men’s basketball team was uncovered with the assistance of Las Vegas bookmakers, who grew suspicious over repeated large wagers being made against Arizona State.
  • On 10 February 1999, a plot to disable the floodlights of The Valley during a Charlton-Liverpool match was discovered. Three individuals were arrested, and the scam tracked to Malaysia, where the Premiership is very popular, and bets frequent.
  • In early 2000, Hansie Cronje, then highly-regarded captain of the South African cricket team, rocked the cricketing world with frank admissions of match-fixing. Hansie admitted to receiving more than $140,000 USD from London-based bookies to influence aspects of his team’s performance. For example, he convinced Herschelle Gibbs to score less than 20 runs in a One Day International for a $15,000 USD reward. Hansie received a lifetime ban from any involvement in professional cricket but he maintained throughout his numerous trials that he never consipired to fix overall match results. He died tragically in a plane crash in 2002, leaving behind many unanswered questions and a tainted legacy.
  • In late 2004, the game between Panionios and Dinamo Tbilisi in the 2004-05 UEFA Cup was suspected of being fixed after British bookmakers detected an unusually high number of half-time bets for a 5-2 win for the Greek side, which was trailing 0-1. As the final result ended up being 5-2, suspicions of fixing quickly emerged, but were quickly denied by both clubs, although UEFA started an investigation.
  • The Italian Football Federation said in October 2000 it had found eight players guilty of match-fixing. Three were from Serie A side Atalanta and the other five played for Serie B side Pistoiese. The players were Giacomo Banchelli, Cristiano Doni and Sebastiano Siviglia (all Atalanta) and Alfredo Aglietti, Massimiliano Allegri, Daniele Amerini, Gianluca Lillo and Girolamo Bizzarri (all Pistoiese). The charges related to an Italian Cup first round tie between the two sides in Bergamo on August 20, 2000 which ended 1-1. Atalanta scored at the end of the first half and Pistoiese equalised three minutes from full time. Atalanta qualified for the second round. Snai, which organises betting on Italian football, said later it had registered suspiciously heavy betting on the result and many of the bets were for a 1-0 halftime score and a fulltime score of 1-1.
  • In early 2005, the German Football Association (DFB) revealed that referee Robert Hoyzer was under investigation for suspected betting on a first-round German Cup tie between regional league side Paderborn and Bundesliga club Hamburger SV in August 2004, and possibly fixing the match. In the match, HSV took a 2-0 lead, but Hoyzer sent off HSV striker Emile Mpenza in the first half for alleged dissent (a sending-off that many observers considered unwarranted), and later awarded Paderborn two dubious penalties. Paderborn went on to win 4-2. Several days later, Hoyzer admitted to having fixed that match, as well as several others he worked. He went on to implicate other referees and several players in the scandal. Hoyzer himself was arrested on February 12 after evidence emerged that he may have fixed more matches than he had admitted to fixing. On February 16, UEFA announced that it would send an investigator to Athens to investigate possible links between this scandal and the aforementioned Panionios-Dinamo UEFA Cup tie. Eventually, Hoyzer was sentenced to 2 years and 5 months in prison. The Croatian betting syndicate which had paid Hoyzer to fix matches was also found to be linked to the Panionios-Dinamo match.
  • In late September 2005, two referees (Edilson Pereira de Carvalho and Paulo Jose Danelon) were accused of fixing several matches in the São Paulo championship for an internet betting ring that moved over USD100,000 on each match day, receiving around USD 4,400 for each match. In the following days, Armando Marques, president of the national commission of referees resigned and Nagib Fayad and Vanderlei Pololi, two businessmen, were arrested as suspects of working as middlemen between the referees and the corruption ring. In early October, a court ordered that the matches where Carvalho was the referee would have to be replayed and free to the public. No decision was made about Danelon’s matches.

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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