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One in six professional athletes approached to fix matches

Wed, Jul 26, 8:13am by Staff Writer

One in six professional athletes surveyed in Europe have said they have been approached to fix matches within the last 12 months.

The astonishing results come from a study conducted by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece as part of the European Union’s Erasmus+ project into match fixing in professional sport.

The survey spoke to thousands of players in sports ranging from basketball to handball, volleyball, water polo, martial arts, badminton, tennis, athletics, swimming, gymnastics to weightlifting.

Among the findings was that 35 per cent of athletes believed games were being fixed in their sport and 20 per cent knew that match fixing or spot fixing had taken place within the past 12 months,

Illegal gambling syndicates are a major concern for the integrity of professional sport, with players offered significant amounts of money to either impact the result of a match, or individual betting markets within a match.

The depth of the issue has rarely been measured, but those involved in playing major sports day to day are well aware of the insidious nature of match fixing.

Fifteen per cent had been approached within the past 12 months to fix results within a match or event.

“The findings show the extent of the phenomenon of manipulated games and highlight the need for immediate treatment through scientifically documented educational interventions,” said Vassilis Barkoukis, coordinator of FIX the FIXING said.

Just last week, the European Sports Security Association announced it had flagged 51 incidents of suspicious betting activity in the past quarter, including 31 in the sport of tennis.

Three matches at Wimbledon and one at the French Open were flagged as suspicious.

That came after former Australian Open junior champion Oliver Anderson pleaded guilty to match fixing in a Victorian court earlier this year. He was fined but received no conviction after admitting he had thrown the first set of his match in a tournament in Traralgon after being approached by someone else.

A Queensland man has been subsequently charged over the matter as well.

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