The need to fight against match-fixing is a response to perceptions of it as a public interest issue; match-fixing
“jeopardises the integrity of the competitions, damages the social, educational and cultural values reflected by
sports, and jeopardises the economic role of sports” (UEFA, November 25, 2011). Sports integrity must be
protected from fraud in order to avoid doubts concerning the authenticity of results. Without the
unpredictability inherent in fair play in sport it becomes unappealing to spectators, broadcasters and sponsors.
Furthermore, match-fixing can be considered a form of corruption and as such must be sanctioned by criminal
law (European Commission 2011b).
Agreements on the need to fight against anything which alters the unpredictability of outcomes in sport entail
questions about the most efficient ways to fight against this phenomenon.


Recent cases of sport corruption show that this is no minor issue and that it should be combated with appropriate tools such as police expertise,
phone-tapping, formal police interviews, prosecutions and trials. Resorting to criminal justice in the fight against
match-fixing shows that sporting manipulation can be not only a ‘simple’ breach of sporting rules but also an
offence against the public in a broader sense. In the field of doping the use of criminal justice mechanisms has
resulted in an active fight against doping. Furthermore the application of an offence, whether general or specific,
can facilitate the prosecution of perpetrators who are not members of the sports association concerned;
sanctioning through sporting sanctions can only reach those directly involved in sport. Indeed, people who are
“behind” fixed matches are commonly linked to organised crime, not the sports world. This raises the question of
whether sports organisations are capable of tackling the problem of match-fixing alone (sport autonomy) or
whether cooperation with public authorities and legislative intervention are necessary. With regard to
cooperation, in some cases the police and public prosecution are already collaborating with sporting bodies and
cooperation is not affecting independent sporting sanction systems, which include bans, relegations and
As suggested above, criminal sanctions and the establishment of a specific criminal offence in national law seem
to have been the most effective deterrent to doping. Some commentators argue that this could apply equally
to match-fixing. A range of different stakeholders have requested the establishment of a specific legal offence
relating to match-fixing7
. This is the route that some European Member States have already taken (see below
sections 3.4-3.6). Also, in Australia a bill was recently introduced to add a provision on fraudulent sports conduct
in the Criminal Code – Interactive Gambling and Broadcasting Amendment (Online Transactions and Other
Measures) Bill 2011. Similarly, in Russia, it has been announced a proposal allowing the prosecution of match-fixing
in the country (Sapa-AFP 2012)