With all eyes on FIFA in the past days, I tend to wonder, why match fixing (or tournament fixing) is illegal in any sport.

I understand that fixing violates the rules of the governing body of a particular sport, but why does government and authorities need to get involved? By which right, do governments enforce internal rules of NGOs such as FIFA?

I understand that there is a deception involved here, but I don't understand how is that violating the law?

  • 3
    Because it is basically fraud? People gaining and losing potentially a lot of money from something that isn't what it claims to be?
    – Joe W
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 21:51
  • yes, but that is a problem of betting, not on the sport itself. Why should we care if idiots want to bet and loose money on who kicks a ball better. Everybody knows that slot machines are fixed and gambling is not illegal. Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 7:18
  • @MartinTaleski In most areas slot machines are highly regulated so that they are not fixed, they are in fact carefully designed in order to give the players the impression that they have a good chance of winning even though they are designed with the odds very much in favor of the house which does not mean they are fixed. While you may have a low chance of winning overall and a lower chance of winning big you do still have that chance.
    – Joe W
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 12:18
  • I think you are confusing laws and regulations. Many governments have all sorts of 'rights' to regulate commerce and society within their borders.
    – DA.
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 16:08

2 Answers 2


The issues with match fixing boil down to fraud from multiple areas.

  1. Most sports get some sort of break from the government in order help them keep afloat. This could be as simple as tax breaks or protections from anti-trust laws when they are the only league for that sport in the country. Because of this they are held to higher standards
  2. There is the issue of money made from the market size and popularity of a team. A league stands to make much more money when teams with large market size and large popularity play, negative popularity included. What that means is that a league can have incentive to ensure that small market teams with a small audience don't do as well as larger market teams and popular players in order to maximize the revenue from attendance, tv, radio, advertising. A good way to look at this is when you see some playoff/tournament games that have a very low attendance and an almost empty audience.
  3. Contracts, have a big play in this as there are a lot of performance based rewards in contracts and fixing matches can cause players/managers/teams to lose out on money that they would have gotten if the fix keeps them from reaching certain goals.
  4. Also there is the issue of endorsements that can be gained by successful players and teams. If there is match fixing going on then players who might be earning the endorsements and money could end out missing a lot of money due to other players throwing/fixing matches.
  5. Gambling, especially where it is legal, is a big one as it normally causes a lot of people to lose money and a small group of people to make a large amount of money. This in essence is the biggest problem of fraud as when people make the wagers they are assuming that everyone involved in the match is going to give it their best and try to win. Not that they are going to either throw the match or keep the score within a certain range so that someone else can make a lot of money.

There are other areas where money can be greatly impacted by match fixing but these are the ones that quickly come to my mind when it comes to match fixing.

  • 2
    Some references would improve this answer tremendously.
    – wax eagle
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 12:30

While the suggestion that this question could be asked at all is a little baffling you only really need to look as far as The Disgrace of Gijon for proof of why match fixing should be illegal even if you take the bookmakers out of the picture.

If you were Austrian or West German would you be proud of these actions?

If you Algerian would you be happy with this outcome?

  • Trust me, any Algerian in age to know what football is knows what the Disgrace of Gijon is. The whole country is still in shock 33 years after.
    – LeReferee
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 9:50

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