The Football Association is investigating strange betting patterns in the aftermath of an Arsenal player receiving a yellow card in a Premier League match earlier this season. Authorities were alerted to a frenzy of in-game activity after bookmakers reported large sums of money being wagered on the card being shown.
Suspicious Betting Behavior
An FA spokesman said: ‘The FA is aware of the matter in question and is looking into it,’ said the FA spokesman. It is not, however, a formal investigation at this time. Spot-fixing can be a huge issue for bookmakers since punters can win substantial sums on seemingly little parts of a contest that do not affect the outcome and thus receive little attention.
Spot betting and ‘spot-fixing’ are terms used to describe betting on little incidents or occurrences in any sport that are determined to have been purposely arranged by a player or team to win a bet. The timing or nature of a booking, a corner at a precise moment, or any number of other seemingly minor details in a match can be worth tens of thousands of pounds.
Spot-fixing in English football
Spot-fixing has been rare in English football, especially when compared to other leagues around the world with less financial resources. However, the consequences can be severe, as Bradley Wood was banned for six years in 2018 for deliberately picking up cautions during Lincoln City’s FA Cup run.
Matt Le Tissier, a Southampton great, acknowledged doing it in his autobiography, claiming that he “tried to make a few pounds at the timing of the first throw-in.”
He attempted to kick the ball out of play, but a teammate intercepted it. Hampshire police investigated, however, no action was taken since it was not deemed in the public interest. Spot-fixing is more widespread in tennis and cricket, and it gained notoriety in 2010 when the Pakistan cricket team was involved in a scandal.
Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were found guilty of intentionally bowling no-balls on specified deliveries as part of a conspiracy involving Salman Butt. Amir and Asif were given five and seven-year bans, respectively, while Butt was given a ten-year sentence. All three were sentenced to prison, with Butt receiving the heaviest sentence of 30 months.