Sport has proved a powerful but highly undervalued and underexploited tool for promoting solidarity and contributing to an atmosphere of tolerance and understanding.
Indeed sport has been found to contribute to economic and social growth, by improving public health and bringing different communities together through its tremendous potential as a tool for advocacy and mobilization.
Although the world of sport is far from perfect, sport is being used to develop a sense of community and common purpose and is being used as a cost-effective tool for development.
But sport is not only area of great values but it is big economic force too.
The sports industry at large generates on average for between 2.5% and 3.5% of the GDP of countries.
Sport, especially professional sport, attracts money. With money commercialization of sport grows.
This leads to contradictory trends: On the one hand possibility of development of sport, build new sport arenas, transmit sport games to TV screens of billions of spectators, and generate funds for providing sport opportunities for youngsters.
On the other hand it leads to alienations with all its adverse reactions like sport spectators violence.
It opens a possibility to corruption which always goes hand in hand with huge money. It attracts doping, trade of athletes or political abuse of sport.
It appears that corruption can be found in almost any imaginable areas of sport.
The main areas are match fixing, embezzlement or misusing of sport funds, corruption in hosting of games, corruption in changing sport results, corruption in transfers of players, corrupted elections in sporting bodies.
There are cases where high sport officials were convicted of corruption in their non-sport activities which is not corruption in sport itself but it certainly influences the sport life.
Event there are cases of the role of politics in sport which might be very close to political corruption of sport.
Match fixing is a quite common problem in number of sports. The reasons for match fixing may be also numerous.
Perhaps the most commonly match fixing is connected with betting, legal or illegal.
In this cases match fixing is connected with financial profit and it may be connected with organized groups or we can even directly speak about links to organized crime.
Match fixing may also occur in direct links with “sport” life.
Matches can be fixed in order to gain better position in sport competition. It often occurs in cases where a club is in a risk of falling to lower league.
While the visible purpose is of a purely “sport nature” the underlining causes are often again financial – remaining in a higher league can generate higher income for the club and its owners (TV rights, better value for players).
Just after two (2) week it began, nine (9) players with the Perlis state Premier League squad admitted having contact with a bookmaker who offered them up to RM100,000 each before they lost 7-2 against a weak team on January 9 and the integrity of the league could be thrown into doubt if corruption is not eradicated.
The scandal is a fresh blow to Malaysian football, which has struggled to recover from a 1994 investigation that saw 21 players and coaches sacked, 58 players suspended and 126 players questioned over corruption.
The Deputy Youth and Sport Minister was quoted as saying bribery had made the national football industry goes bad and the healing process took almost forever.
“For the ministry, we will use just about any channel including the law to prevent this from ever happening again.”
The ministry must take bold action by introducing step and programme to eradicate this problem.
Some sports already have in place player education programmes similar to those implemented to counter doping.
It would be appropriate for all sports to adopt policies for making players aware of the rules against their being involved in betting, the consequences for those who cooperate with betting interests and the high risk of blackmail faced by players who have fixed even once.
Reducing any propensity to fix may therefore require sports to frame and enforce policies against ‘not trying’, just as in horse racing. They should also refine the structure of prizes in tournaments to maximise incentives to effort in matches in different rounds of the competition.
In certain sports, the greatest risk from criminal groups lies in their recruitment of referees.
High pay for officials is essential to the minimisation of risk not only because it makes individuals think more carefully about what they stand to lose if found fixing but also because poor rewards, especially compared with players, breeds resentment and a willingness to hit back at the system.
Both the NBA and the Bundesliga responded to corruption amongst referees by adopting explicit measures to make them less vulnerable to bribes and threats.
For example, assignment of officials is now made only shortly before each round of matches.
This makes it hard for syndicates to make approaches. Where a syndicate has a referee as retainer, it reduces the time available for corrupt money on his match to be dripped into the market, raising the probability that the fix will be detected.
This innovation should be considered in all sports where officials have a strong potential to influence outcomes.
On the field decisions should also be scrutinized regularly, for example, as in German football, by an expert panel reviewing film replays of goals and penalty calls.
Since the motive for an error can be hard to demonstrate, it may be that demotion of all poorly performing referees should follow even though the majority will be innocent of fixing.
Well it our hope that “use just about any channel including the law to prevent this from ever happening again” is not merely rhetoric.