PtG Article 06.11.2005

Soccer fixing tactics revealed at Play the Game

Have you ever left a football match feeling that the result was so unfair or bemusing that it must have been fixed?

According to Declan Hill, former journalist and current Oxford University academic, you may just be right. He spoke in detail to assembled Play the Game delegates about the mechanisms involved in fixing a football match, and the vast sums of money that can be made if a match is fixed well  – especially if a half-time score can be included.

 Match fixing, he stated, is a very difficult thing to investigate in such a closed culture as professional soccer, but offers vast rewards to those who succeed.  He stressed his personal conviction that match fixing is by no means a rare occurrence, and stated that he has assembled evidence – including confessions, phone conversations, and court testimonies – to back up his claims.

 Declan Hill also spoke of how not to fix a game, citing a 2005 case involving Turkish Premier League clubs Sebatspor and Kayserispor as a prime example. The fixing attempt was eventually exposed after a bag of money was displayed openly, a total of €210,000 was bet on the result and half the Sebatspor players were approached individually.

 As an example of ‘best match fixing practice’ he cited the Malaysian league in the 1990’s, where mass marketing resulted in huge crowds turning out to support a league in which up to 90% of games were fixed and often both teams and every official were bought. After the scandal broke, 150 players were arrested.

The really successful match fixers are experts in human nature, he stated. They are quick to establish cultural bonds leading to trusting relationships, and use a modus operandi, which involves persuading a corruptible player to accept money quickly. The best ‘fixers’ he added, only need to establish contact with just a single player, who is then used to recruit others in a classic ‘pyramid’ network.

The delicate nature of Declan Hill’s research currently prevents him from speaking in detail about any case which has not already been well publicised in the media. However, a forthcoming book is expected to include new, startling, revelations from the closed world of top-flight soccer.

 Declan Hill researches the dynamics of match fixing at Oxford University

More about Declan Hill and match fixing here.


Official high resolution pictures from the conference are provided by photographer Niels Nyholm.

You are free to download them and use them on your website and in printed material provided you credit Play the Game and photographer Niels Nyholm.

To download:

Browse the collection here

Click to enlarge the picture you want

Click on the image to download it to your computer

Save the image on your computer