To fix or not to fix? How corruptors decide to fix football matches

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject: LCSH

Football--Betting, Gambling and crime, Corruption investigation


This paper examines the decisions of the internal corruptors in fixing football games. The methodology is a mixture of interviews, database analysis and examination of a specific series of taped phone calls of a corrupt Russian football official. It finds that generally, this type of match-fixing occurs only after a specific point in the season. There are five implicit questions that corruptors must answer: is the game important enough to fix? Is it morally ethical? Can my team win honestly? Can I afford to fix the game? If I am caught is there a high risk of sanctions? The second section of the paper examines the question of who to bribe? The data indicate that out of the three possible options – referees, players and team officials – the best chance of delivering a successful fix are the team officials. The final section is an examination of the use trust, favour banks and guarantors among the team officials who are willing to sell matches.


This article was originally published in the journal, "Global Crime," volume 10, issue 3, 2009.

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Publisher Citation

Declan Hill (2009) To fix or not to fix? How corruptors decide to fix football matches, Global Crime, 10:3, 157-177, DOI: 10.1080/17440570802543524