Much has been said on the subject of match fixing the last few days of this year’s Play The Game conference.
But what seems to be the case is, that no one really has given much thought about the definition of match fixing.
That was until researcher Karen Jones from T.M.C Asser Instituut, Asser International Sports Law Centre, asked the question: How do you define match fixing?
Don’t invent it, define it
According to the Dutch speaker there is no universal definition of match fixing – only a lot of variations at national, European and international level.
And that is probably one of the key problems when working with legislating match fixing.
“You can’t effectively manage, what you can’t define. There’s no need to create something entirely new, we just need to define what’s already there” she stated, at Wednesdays session.
Seeking a common definition
International sports should be crying out for a common definition that can help public understanding support the national law development, and thereby contribute to harmonization. A common definition could be key in creating good governance in sports.
The lack of clear definition leads to cases, which leave sports ethics on a knifes edge.
Karen Jones herself named the NFL Bounty Scheme as one example of jeopardizing the ethics, and a scheme which according to some definitions could be considered match fixing.
The not so saintly Saints
Last year it was concluded that coaches of the NFL team New Orleans Saints would pay additional bonuses to players causing serious injury to members of the opposing team.
The fees were nominal when the players salary was taken into consideration, but it could be construed as incentive to alter the outcome of a match by injuring the opposing team.
“Under the national american plan it was perceived as match fixing, but according to the European Counsil it wasn’t,” she added.