The Fix: match-fixing in professional sport documented and exposed

01.09.2008

By Play the Game
Many regulars at Play the Game conferences have been left amazed and outraged in equal measure by the research carried out by Canadian investigative journalist and academic Declan Hill, who has devoted years to researching the dangerous underworld that lies behind much of professional sport. Now, Hill has compiled his latest research into one book – The Fix.

- Read exclusive extract at Play the Game's Knowledge Bank

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The Fix by Declan Hill, from McLelland & Stewart

Many regulars at Play the Game conferences have been left amazed and outraged in equal measure by the research carried out by Canadian investigative journalist and academic Declan Hill, who has devoted years to researching the dangerous underworld that lies behind much of professional sport. Now, Hill has compiled his latest research into one book – The Fix.

Hill came face-to-face with the multi-billion dollar illegal Asian gambling industry. Over 4 years, he interviewed more than two hundred people, including professional gamblers, Mafia hitmen, undercover cops, top-level international soccer players, referees, and officials.

He met men who claim they have bribed their way into changing the results of some of the biggest games in the sport. Initially very sceptical, Hill travelled across four continents to corroborate their stories. He found soccer leagues where mobsters have fixed more than eighty per cent of the games. But most chilling, he met and then was adopted by a small group of match-fixers.

The Fix presents evidence that some of the highest soccer matches in the world may have been fixed: European Champions League, Olympic and World Cup tournaments.

In The Fix, Hill explains the structure and mechanics of illegal gambling syndicates, what soccer players and referees do (or not do) to affect the outcome of their games, why relatively rich and high-status athletes would fix games, how and why club officials would bribe the opposition and how they get referees “on their side.” Perhaps most shocking is Hill’s discovery that gambling fixers have successfully infiltrated the game, all the way to the top international matches.

The book, however, is not just about soccer, the world’s most popular sport. Throughout the text, Hill uses examples from other sports – tennis, hockey, even rowing – to show that the credibility of professional sport now lies on a fragile foundation, and it provides enough hints to suspect that all sports above amateur level should look nervously over the shoulder.

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