Regular readers will know that I’m not a fan of Alan Shearer. His views this season that he doesn’t believe Arsenal are genuine title contenders is something that has annoyed me and he has the personality of a brick wall. However, for possibly the first time ever, I finally agree with him on something.
He’s come out and said that there should be “zero tolerance” when it comes to match-fixing, and I completely agree.
Match-fixing goes on everywhere and we’ve already seen and heard about high-profile cases in Italy, Germany, Brazil, China, Hungary, Turkey, Finland and South Africa but to name a few.
The problem is, football betting has become so comprehensive now it’s untrue. Whether you think gambling is wrong is another issue, and I will admit I’ve put a bet on or two in the past. But what is crazy now is that you can get on absolutely anything on a single football match – whenever I put a bet on it will be for the final score or first goalscorer, but now you can bet on who gets a yellow card, how many corners there are, the list is endless.
And with this, are more ways to make a quick buck by picking up a yellow card or giving away a freekick. The main reason for match-fixing is greed on part of the players, and the ability to make quick and easy money. In a game which is already flooded with money, in a way I suppose it was inevitable that match-fixing would come to England.
There are a lot of issues to consider – the ethics of gambling itself and what should the authorities do if they find players guilty of participating in match fixing. Gambling will never go away as it’s big business, and with the relaxed laws you see gambling adverts in between (as well as before and after) any televised football match.
But back to the specific problem, and Alan Shearer is right about having a “zero tolerance” policy. Any player found guilty of taking part in match-fixing should be banned from football for life, across the world.
The only way to deter players from being stupid and taking part in something which ruins the integrity of the game is to threaten them with their livelihood. At the moment, there are no real consequences (Bruce Grobbelaar and Hans Segers got off lightly) and players would think twice before jeopardising their whole career for a quick buck.
You would have to think that if the players who have been arrested are found guilty, then they would need to be made examples of.