Match-fixing in Germany: Is it a problem?

GermanFootball

Whether you want to bet on a local football match, head to the casino and take on the blackjack dealer or hope that your lucky number comes up when you play roulette on your Lucky Nugget app, gambling is about having fun. As well as that, the thrill comes from the excitement and unknown nature of what will happen, no matter what you’re playing.

However, with big money at stake, on certain occasions the integrity of sports and gambling can be brought into question.

Politician promises criminalisation of match-fixing in Germany

German football was engulfed with a €2m betting scandal of their own back in 2005, when referee Robert Hoyzer had fixed and bet on matches in the Bundesliga II and German Cup, as well as regional games. One of those matches saw top-flight outfit Hamburg lose to lower league Paderborn in the cup, thanks to two dubious penalties that were awarded.

Robert Hoyzer
Robert Hoyzer was the referee involved in the match-fixing scandal from 2005

On a worldwide scale, we have also seen members of the Pakistan cricket team jailed for their role in a match-fixing scandal when they toured England. Therefore, it’s clear that a problem could still exist in high level sport today.

With that in mind, Ole Schröder, the Parliamentary State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, declared that it was time to make match-fixing a criminal offence. He believes the only way to ‘combat match-fixing in sport efficiently’ and it’s something that all sports fans would agree with.

His proposals were given support by Carsten Koerl, the CEO of Sportradar who monitor suspicious betting activity. Koerl cited the case of Hoyzer in 2005 and said since then “not enough has been done”. Whilst there is no suggestion that any match-fixing currently exists in German sport, it would be naïve not to put sufficient resources into ensuring that this can never happen again.

So many ways to bet

There are many ways to bet on a football match today
There are many ways to bet on a football match today

The sports betting market has grown considerably over the years in terms of the ways you can bet. From who will get the first booking, to the minute of the first throw-in, there are countless ways you can bet on football matches, or any sport for that matter.

That had led to calls for these types of bets and those in-play to be scrapped, therefore reducing the chances of match-fixing. However, a study produced by the Asser Institute of Sports Law for the German Olympic Committee (DOSB) failed to find any evidence that these types of bets were more susceptible to match-fixing.

To stop any potential problems, a regulated sports betting market is needed. However, the legal advisor to the German football league has said: “Anyone can offer sports betting, but nobody checks who is offering it.” The local counties will now have to ensure that anyone who does get a license is regulated to prevent any future problems.

Overall, the criminalisation of match-fixing will be a good way to deter any future incidents that might be similar to that of the German football scandal in 2005. Clearly, there isn’t a widespread problem, but with the money involved, it’s important to do everything possible to ensure whatever you gamble on, the integrity and unpredictability is there.