All posts by Signe Bay Hansen

Smart Journalists don’t do Sports Journalism – Or do They?

Our reporter followed the session today on sports media research, and some important points were brought to the surface.

One of the speakers was Brazilian PhD student Tatiane Hilgemberg, who spoke about her research on the media coverage of the World Cup on January 28, 2013, which marked the day where the World Cup was exactly 500 days away.

She was disappointed in the Brazilian journalists, and according to her, important issues were not being raised.

Part of the reason for this was that journalists in Brazil aren’t among the brightest of thinkers, Tatiane Hilgemberg states.

See what else Tatiane Hilgemberg had to say, along with other interesting points from the session here:

Declan Hill: Young Players are Not the Problem in Match-Fixing

foto 4
Match-fixing is not as big a problem among younger players as you might think. However it is a problem among players over 30 years, says Declan Hill. Photo: Simon Tordrup.

According to one of the world’s leading experts on match-fixing, investigative journalist Declan Hill, it is players over 30 years of age who are responsible for the biggest part of the match-fixing problem.

This goes against the common conception in many countries and agencies.

The common perception is that match-fixers prey on young and impressionable players, but according to Declan Hill, the problems are biggest with players over 30 who are not getting their salaries on time. And he has the data to back it up.

Old players are cynical

While young players who match-fix are often misguided and naive, the match-fixing players over 30, are seasoned and cynical. According to Declan Hill, they know the drill.

“If you go and tell these players that match-fixing is wrong and they should not do it, they are gonna say ‘fuck you. Show me that you care about me not getting paid instead’,” says Declan Hill.

Declan Hill also mentioned the case of Mario Cizmek, which was presented on Monday. In that case, the match-fixers only approached the older players and in fact, the young players were not allowed in.

Red flags

In his speech on Tuesday, Declan Hill mentioned the existence of some red flags in the fight against matchfixing. One of them was that primarily young players match-fix.

“This is not true,” Declan Hill commented.

According to a study he presented at his speech, the frequency of match-fixing for the first time rises with age, with players over 30 dominating the chart.

How to Avoid Match-Fixing in Smaller Sports

The match-fixing problem is omnipresent in big sports as well as smaller ones. And it is hard to avoid. As the betting companies get smarter, so do the match-fixers.

But there are some measures one can take against the fixing of matches. Chris Rasmussen is coordinator at World Lottery Association, and in charge of monitoring unusual betting patterns in small sports as well as large ones.

According to him, the Danish Lottery Association of which he is a part, take certain measures to avoid match-fixing, especially in the sports where the players aren’t given a salary.

“There is a limit on how much money you can bet on certain sports. In Denmark, for instance, you can bet on floorball, which is an amateur sport. But you can only bet something like 500 kroner (67 euro, red.),” says Chris Rasmussen.

Why are small sports easy to matchfix?

It is always easier to convince people to cheat if they have everything to win and nothing to lose. In the case of non-professional sports, what the match-fixers have to offer is often a lot of money for the players.

At the same time, the players don’t face losing their livelihood if the fixing is discovered.

This combined makes it necessary for the Danish Lottery Association to put a limit on single bets placed. This makes the cost/benefit ratio for the matchfixers lean towards matchfixing not being worth the effort.

Match-fixing is rarely discovered

But at the same time, only a few of the match-fixing cases are ever discovered.

“My estimate is that we only discover 15-20 percent of the cases,” says Chris Rasmussen.

Snooker Not Always a Gentleman’s Sport: Former Champion Found Guilty of Match-Fixing

Not even snooker is free of match-fixing. Photo: david_pics/Flickr

Once number five in the world, snooker champion Stephen Lee now faces 12 years of suspension for match-fixing. And his case is not the first of its kind.

Match-fixing does not only occur in dominant sports like football and volleyball.

Once considered a gentleman’s sport, snooker now faces big problems with match-fixing, and former champion Stephen Lee’s conviction is just the latest case to surface.

The problems are escalating
Stephen Lee was once the fifth best snooker player in the world, and now he faces a 12 year ban from the sport, as well as a fine of 40,000 Pounds.

When then world number one John Higgins in 2010 was convicted of ‘giving the impression he would breach betting rules, and of failing to report the approach’, he was only sentenced to a six month ban.

He returned to be one of the players Stephen Lee was convicted of fixing a match against. Stephen Lee won’t be able to return to the sport before 2024, when he will be 50 years of age.

The first known case of a player being investigated for matchfixing occurred in 1995, and another case did not surface until 2005. Between 2005 and 2013, 14 different players were investigated for matchfixing on 23 different counts.

Changing the rules

The rules were changed in 2012 in order to accommodate the changing climate of the sport, but since all of Stephen Lee’s offences happened before 2012, he was sentenced in accordance with the old rules.

Had he been sentenced by the new rules, he would most likely have faced a lifetime ban from the sport.