Prevalence of Match Fixing in Friendly Football Matches

Many punters point out the crazy results of friendly football games. You can claim that if a surprise is about to happen, the most likely league is the “friendly match league” (I know such a league does not exist, but you get my point right?).

Rowdie as a project delivering mathematical football predictions pointed out the difficulty of using mathematical tools to predict those games. As claimed by the project owner:

“We are doing our best to bring the best results with our mathematical football predictions and we are proud to present our results. There is however one league that stands out. The group of friendly games in football. The math is simply not working. ”

There was a research on match fixing

Football is widespread throughout Europe with many football clubs and diehard fans. However, fixed matches have become a lot more common nowadays and it is suspected that there have been many suspicious activities between 2017 and 2019. The Rowdie betting community established a 2-year research program on these grounds. It was funded by the ICO and the aim was to look for such occurrences of match manipulation.

For this study, over 600 participants were chosen from different parts of Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece. All of them were players and 25.9% claimed that they were suspicious of fishy activities in several matches. It was also found out during this research that club officials had a special role to play in manipulating matches. It was observed that 18.7% of such approaches were made by the officials alone while 14.93% of the approaches came from players. It was also revealed that officials had much to gain, given that in 24.89% of the approaches, they were supposedly a major beneficiary.

The comments and objectives

The research by Rowdie indicates the absence of strong regulations for such discrepancies. It is also a mammoth task to figure out such regulations since two clubs, coming from different countries, will be playing in a yet different country. Since so many countries (and jurisdictions) are taking part in the match, monitoring suspicious activities becomes a very difficult task. The absence of regulations also means that there are many unregulated betting operators for whom, unlike the regulated and licensed ones, it is not mandatory to report such activities.

Rowdie, research members from the team, claims that such occurrences are much lower in competitive matches. These matches are much more tightly governed and such governance needs to be incorporated into friendly matches too. Controlling match manipulation also requires the introduction of betting operators coming from jurisdictions bound by strong regulations.

Why are friendly games special?

Have you ever wondered about the crazy results of the fixtures when playing a friendly game? We have seen it many times. The math is simply not working. A team from a third league can beat the first league title holder, best players can have the worst performance and yes. Everything can be summarized as “testing a new approach”.

Friendly games are a unique chance for managers testing new players, the squad compatibility or new positions for already stable players. Many “hard to predict” inputs that have a huge impact on the output. We really have to wonder about the bookies being able to have the odds for friendly games. Maybe with the right market margin it is easier than we might think.

Friendly games are also not meant for a full performance. Can you imagine the turmoil when some of the best players in the club would get injured during a friendly game? That would cost a lot.