Preserving the Integrity of Sports: Match-Fixing History & Key Facts

A spectre is haunting the industry… Since a while, match-fixing seems to be the hot topic on regulator’s agenda throughout the gaming industry.

Only in the last months, regulators in, i.a., Brazil, the Netherlands, Sweden and Spain have engaged in collaborations and legal initiatives, in order to combat sports integrity violations.

But what actually is match-fixing, how big is the problem and are the current initiatives designed and suitable to solve the problem and boost fair play and the integrity of sports competitions?

Match-fixing is commonly understood as the act of playing or officiating a contest with the intention of achieving a pre-determined result, violating the rules of the game (and, by this, often the underlying laws).

The practice of manipulating the outcome of competitions may be as old as the idea of tournaments themselves, but the first internationally discussed sports manipulation scandal in history was the “Black Sox Scandal” in 1919: professional baseball players of Chicago’s White Sox’ team had conspired with members of organised crime, in order to manipulate the outcome of several Major League Baseball games and ultimate loose the World Series 1919, maliciously. Organiser of the racket was a certain Arnold Rothstein, criminal father figure for such later-prominent mobsters as Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky, the alleged founders of the American mafia.

Ever since 1919, match-fixing suspicions have rocked the sports world, recently such as the 2006 German scandal about bribing football referees, known as the “Hoyzer Scandal”, or Turin Betting Scandal, subjecting manipulations of Italian Serie A-football matches in the 2004/2005-season.

In today’s professional sports world, it seems that football is the sports discipline which is in the focus of wrongdoer’s attention: as per available data from major stakeholders, approximately 66% of the events subject to match fixing concerns are from the international football sector, while the total percentage of sports events subject to a integrity breach-suspicions remains at below 1%.

In the third millennium, industry data providers such as Sportsradar and associations and legal initiatives on both national and international level aim to prevent manipulations by early detection mechanisms and exchange of data amongst betting operators, sports clubs & associations, and further stakeholders.

While several jurisdictions have engaged in legal frameworks form national sports integrity compliance (such as the recently signed agreement between the Spanish gambling regulator DGOJ and the Spanish football association AFE or the Brazilian match-fixing database, to be established in 2024),the most important legal regulatory initiative to counter sports integrity violations is the Council of Europe’s so-called Macolin Convention: the Convention on the Manipulations of Sports Competitions provides a legal framework which sets out a cooperation framework for public agencies, sports and betting providers, in order to prevent, detect and sanction the manipulation of sports events. The Convention has been ratified by nine European states and has been signed by 32 others.

As much as frameworks on sector-, national and international level exist to counter the undue influence of criminals on the outcome of sports events exist, fair play and sporting integrity are of paramount importance. Fair play is essential to preserve sports as a source of inspiration for fairness, teamwork, and achievement, uniting millions of people worldwide.

Interested to hear more about sports integrity and manipulation prevention compliance and what you can do to keep your business clean from manipulations and fraud attempts from third party perpetrators? Speak to Chevron Group’s Lawrence Marchese (, Kurt Laferla ( and Thees Buschmann (