Sports bribery has been in existence since ancient times, when in the original Olympic games athletes would be bribed to produce particular outcomes. In the modern day, sports bribery takes a different form than it likely took back then, but it continues to plague the fairness and ethics of sports. Players can be bribed to throw matches; referees can be bribed to unfairly fix results. Individuals willing to commit bribery can make huge amounts of money by betting on fixed matches, assuming they do not get caught.
But sports organizations are fighting back against the prevalence of bribery in sports and the damage that it can do. They have enacted such internal regulations as banning sports betting and punishing very strongly any individual caught exchanging some form of bribe.
The battle between those who would use bribery to unfairly affect outcomes of sports matches and those who would defend the fairness of sports competitions against insidious bribery has no end in sight. Click the link for more of an overview on the background of sports bribery.
The primary controversy regarding sports bribery comes from the practice of match-fixing. Match fixing would nullify the validity of any sports competition. After all, every sports game has the objective of discovering which team or participant is better at that sport than the other. Match-fixing undermines this goal and prevents any observer from successfully and truthfully claiming that the winner has proven himself the best at that sport.
Controversy arises when considering how best to deal with match-fixing. A major goal is not to discourage the practice, but to repair the damage it causes. Should the fixed matches be replayed, at great cost to the sports organization, the participating teams and even the audience? Should they simply be annulled, the season ignored and forgotten, a costly and unsatisfactory solution?
There is likely no good answer, not least because some of the teams involved may have participated to the best of their ability, without any match-fixing behavior on their parts, only to find out that their success was due to the illegitimate practices of other participants. Seizing their victories from them by replaying those games seems cruel. Find out more information about the nature of match-fixing and its solutions by following the link.
Examples of sports bribery abound throughout modern history, as almost every sport has, at some point or another, been rocked by such a scandal. From Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker fixing baseball games in 1926, to the University of Michigan basketball scandal in the ’90s in which players were bribed to help launder money from sports gambling, and from the Southern Methodist University football scandal of 1986 when collegiate football players were bribed with thousands of dollars, to the Hansiegate scandal of 2000 when a South African cricket player was accused of match-fixing, examples can be found all throughout the sports world.
Three examples stand out in particular, however. The first is a famous, well-known, oft-lamented instance of bribery and match-fixing from the early days of baseball. The second involves bribery in the world of sports, certainly, but not oriented on match-fixing or sports betting, as most sports bribery is, therefore showing the variety of corruption that could exist. The third shows a modern example of the form of sports bribery and match-fixing, proving that it still goes on, albeit in a different form, today. For more about these specific examples of sports bribery, click the link.