Asia more prone to match-fixing: report

Football matches in Asia have a higher tendency to be flagged for suspicious betting, according to football betting and integrity experts.

“ICSS investigations and media reports highlight that many match-fixing cases can be traced back to organized crime groups in Asia,” said Mr Michael Hershman, chief executive of the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) in a recent interview with The Straits times.

The news outlet added that it recently obtained a list of more than 60 football matches played since 2011 by Asian teams which have been suspected to have been manipulated.

These include matches played in the Asian Games, Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup, international friendlies and the ongoing 2018 World Cup Qualifiers.

Mr Hershman said that the rapid growth of online betting has been a significant factor in the growth of match-fixing.

Mr Christian Kalb, an associate research fellow at IRIS told The Straits Times: “Asia is the most important continent for sports betting. In Asia, 77 percent of sports bettings’ gross gaming revenue and more than 90 percent of sales remain illegal.”

Sportsmen living in regions of poverty may be also be tempted to take bribes, added Hershman.

“Lower wages for players and athletes… is also a significant contributing factor within the region as match-fixers and organised crime groups tend to target players and teams who are more vulnerable as a result of their lower incomes,” he said.