News from Cass Business School

Corruption in sport is no surprise

Reducing inequality of pay is the key to preventing sports betting scams

Wednesday, 8 September, 2010

The alleged spot fixing that took place during the recent test match between England and Pakistan has generated hundreds of column inches. But this type of corruption is nothing new, betting and match fixing have been intimately linked since the start of organised sport. As the inequality of remuneration in some sports, especially in cricket, tennis and football, has increased so the temptation for the less well off to accept bribes has grown.
In this week’s Cass Talks interview Professor Stefan Szymanski explains that sports like cricket will always be a prime target for betting scams because players have traditionally had only one possible source employment, their national federation. Cricket boards have used this position of power to keep wages low, much to the chagrin of the players.
In the late 1990s the South African cricket captain, Hansie Cronje, was banned from professional cricket for life for his role in a match-fixing scandal. The case inspired Professor Szymanski, along with some colleagues, to produce a paper suggesting a club competition, which could provide an alternative income for players; many see the Indian Premier League as the natural outcome of that argument.
There is no margin for a fixer in offering a highly paid sportsman, a premier league player for example, anything to fix a match because the sum required, in making it worth the risk the player, would most likely swallow up any profit for the fixer. For a low paid sportsperson with limited career earning potential the offer of a bribe, for something as innocuous as a no-ball, will always be attractive.
The Cass Talks interviews are an opportunity to hear Cass faculty and prominent alumni give their perspective on current business and finance news stories, global issues affecting the business world and new research coming out of the School. Listen, watch and download Cass Talks and see other Cass academics share their opinions

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