Football match fixation net widens as Spain arrests 10th

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Posted on Jun 23, 2022 at 5:36 am.

Last updated on: Jun 23, 2022 10:17 am.

Spain is making a concerted effort to fight match-fixing in sport and is having success. His latest initiative has already resulted in the arrest of 10 people with a higher likelihood of falling.

Football club CD Rota
Spanish football club CD Rota in a team photo last year. At least one of the team’s former players is said to have fixed games and is now facing charges. (Picture: Europe South)

Police arrested 10 people for their alleged involvement in rigging first and second category football matches of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF, for its Spanish acronym). This is the latest crackdown on match-fixing and comes shortly after Spain tried 14 people last month for fixing tennis matches.

The Spanish National Police made the arrests as part of their Operation Softwoodaccording to the media El Confidential. Among them are several athletes who are said to have used their position to control the outcome of games they participated in.

No points for match fixing

The arrests took place in the provinces of Badajoz, Seville, Almería and Cádiz. All 10 are accused of belonging to a criminal organization, of corrupting between individuals in sports and of defrauding gambling operators.

Among the players arrested by the police are four from southern cities such as Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz, Rota and San Lucar de Barrameda. Additionally, another has ties to a team based in Zaragoza, in northern Spain’s Aragon region.

The people involved allegedly wagered large amounts of money on the games, the outcomes of which they had previously secured. To prevent the bets from raising suspicions, they placed them in conjunction with bets on other games, such as; B. Premier League matches where the final outcome was predictable.

Operation Softwood has been in play for several years. In May 2021, the Directorate General for Gambling Regulation (DGOJ, for the Spanish acronym), which reports to the Ministry of Finance, detected an unusual betting volume for a duel in the third division and sounded the alarm.

From that moment on, the case was taken over by the National Police Center for Betting and Sports Integrity (Cenpida, for its Spanish acronym) of the National Police. This is the same unit that ran the in May 2019 Oikos Match-fixing investigation. In the process, a conspiracy hatched by former players Raúl Bravo and Carlos Aranda to allegedly rig matches in the first, second and third divisions was uncovered.

There Operation Softwood is still in progress, it is likely that the police will make further arrests. At least one of the top 10 will break their silence to reach an agreement and give investigators more data on the scope of the operation.

The crackdown on match-fixing continues

Match-fixing in sport is an issue, but not an exaggerated one. In the first quarter of 2022, the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) reported 42 cases of suspicious bets to the competent authorities of various countries. That was 39% fewer cases than in the first quarter of last year.

Given the number of ongoing sports competitions and the reach of the IBIA, the number is extremely low. However, much attention is still paid to controlling sports to free them from manipulation.

Spain’s La Liga called in Stats Perform to help earlier this year. The IBIA is as present as in other countries that have become targets for manipulators.

The IBIA reported 236 suspected cases of sports betting to the responsible authorities last year. This figure represents a 13% decrease from the 270 cases reported in 2020.

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