With more money than ever being wagered on sports through the internet, gamblers around the world attempt to gain an edge on the house by any means necessary. In recent years, gambling syndicates have found success by altering the very action that is taking place on the field of play. These syndicates realized that the fringes of professional sports are vulnerable for exploitations because officials and athletes are frequently underpaid. However, these groups have also found success infiltrating the biggest sports leagues in the world—including scandals at the highest level of competition.
These events have shaken sports loved around the world to their very core. Some of these scandals have involved a highly secretive network of fixers and their associates who convince athletes and officials to fix the outcome of events. Even something as small as influencing a particular event during a game can be made incredibly profitable thanks to the advent of in-game voting and an expanded field of proposition bets. Spot fixing is the next wave in match fixing that is just now beginning to rear its ugly head, making some question the decisions made by referees and even the players themselves.
In spite of the looming threat of harsh punishment, which can involve jail time and lifetime bans from their sport, these scandals continue to happen. The incentive is there for individuals to influence the outcome of games and governing bodies are for the most part powerless to prevent it. Every competition relies upon the principal that all parties involved are giving their best effort on game day. When this doesn’t happen, it degrades the integrity of the institution of sports, allowing greed to triumph over professionalism and purity of competition. These scandals remain a stain on their respective games.
15 Indian Premier League Cricket Fixing
14 Stephen Lee’s Snooker Ban
13 Totonero Scandal
12 Hansie Cronje
11 Nigeria Takes Match Fixing to the Extreme
10 Nikolay Davydenko
9 Robert Hoyzer Fixes Bundesliga Matches
8 Pakistan Cricket Spot Fixing
7 Olympique Marseille Match Fixing
6 Boston College Point Shaving
5 Tim Donaghy
4 CCNY Beavers
3 2006 Calciopoli Scandal
2 West Germany vs. Austria 1982 World Cup
1 Black Sox Scandal
The 1919 World Series was lost intentionally by the Chicago White Sox in one of the most controversial and consequential scandals in American history. Factions within the clubhouse were divided, but virtually all were in agreement that White Sox players were underpaid by team owner Charles Comiskey. The illness of the straight-laced pitcher Red Faber made it possible for gamblers like James “Sporty” Sullivan to pay eight White Sox players to throw the series. This culminated in Eddie Cicotte hitting a batsman with his second pitch, serving as a prearranged signal that the fix was in.
Even before the series was finished, rumors of the fix circulated the nation. After the nation bet heavily in favor of Cincinnati to win, the White Sox would lose the nine game series in eight games, completing the fix. One year later during the grand jury investigation, Joe Jackson and Eddie Cicotte confessed to their roles in the scandal. In total, eight White Sox players were banned for life from baseball although they all managed to avoid jail time. The team became known as the “Black Sox” and the name has become synonymous with the scandal since.
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