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Given the Bets Placed on the World Cup, Authorities Fear an Increased Threat of Match-Fixing in Women’s Sport

There was an unforeseen interested in women’s sport during the Football World Cup, leading to unprecedented challenges, including increased risks of corruption and match-fixing.

Giving the number of bets placed on the World Cup and the amount of money that matches by the amount bet on matches, there is a chance for corruptors to fix games. Authorities already recognized the threat, and that’s why Fifa has intensified its efforts to protect the sports from match-fixing.

Bets Placed on the Football World Cup

The authorities immediately started worrying and took action against match-fixing as soon as they saw the reports that the amount of money wagered on the World Cup, which is only 5% of the total bet record on the tournament worldwide, was £225 million, £14 million of which were wagered on England against the US women football semi-final. Compared to 2015, when the total was £92 million and considering that the record on any women’s game until this World Cup, as reported by the bookmaker Betfair, was £7.5 million, this was concerning. Worldwide, on the other hand, considering only 15% of sports betting is visible to regulators, it is impossible for the regulators to follow the money, according to the International Centre for Sport Security Europe.

However, concerns further increased with the financial disparities between teams. Some teams are paid better than others still. As Charles Russell Speechlys’ consultant Darren Bailey said, the rewards in the majority of women’s sport were still low compared to their male counterparts. This was a vulnerability, Russell said, in the context of potential approaches by fixers and acceptances by female players.

In addition, Vassilis Barkoukis from the Aristotle University said that players who were underpaid and participate in matches that were not under strict supervision but were included in betting were the most vulnerable to match-fixing, adding that he believed women’s sports fell into this category.

What Do Academic Studies Say?

According to academic studies, though, women are less likely to break the rules in general, so less likely to cheat. This seems to have been true for sport so far. Most of the match-fixing cases involved male players, not female.

However, like the International Centre for Sport Security Europe’s Chief Executive Emanuel Medeiros said, as women’s sports grew in terms of revenue, so would the risks and threats. The sooner authorities and relevant stakeholders start acting as a unit the better.

Darren Bailey said something similar, explaining that currently, the challenge was more problematic outside major tournaments when less funding was available. Suggesting greater funding for education in anti-corruption in women’s sport, Bailey said that that was the only way to help prevent players from being allured and groomed.

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