By Edzorna Francis Mensah
The Member of Parliament, MP, for South Tongu and Ranking Member on Youth, Sports and Culture Committee in Parliament, Kobena Mensah Woyome, has expressed fear that the beautiful game of football is beginning to lose its credibility in Ghana due to alleged match-fixing.
“…considering the fact that different activities result in the manipulation of some aspect of a game to make sure that one team wins a particular sports match”.
The Minority Spokesperson on Sports explained that, “these activities may also include; Point shaving which is often used as a means of approaching impressionable match-fixing marks, because in a point-shaving scheme, the objective of the fix is to lose by less than the point-spread not to lose the game itself”.
He pointed out to the fact that the team does not need to lose the game can be psychologically and morally enticing to certain players who may feel an obligation to teammates or coaches not to lose, but are able to justify shaving points.
The MP who made this known in a statement he delivered on the floor of Parliament on 25th May, 2022 also said, “Match-fixing Tanking is another strategy where a player or team intentionally puts in a subpar effort. Though tanking sounds sinister in nature, it can sometimes be advantageous for players depending on tournament structures. This quirk was the case at the 2012 Summer Olympics when eight badminton players were disqualified for tanking”.
He used the opportunity to encourage Ghana Football Association, GFA, not to rest on its laurels but strive harder to ensure that match-fixing does not take over the games to kill interests as it makes matches so predictable.
He again asked the GFA to ensure that football clubs comply with the statutes of the federation at all times as this will attract corporate sponsorship, increase cash flow, boost domestic football as well as restore credibility into our games locally and internationally.
According to him, “it is interesting to know that match-fixing comes under two prominent conceptualizations namely non-gambling and gambling corruption.
Gambling syndicates have found success by altering the very action that takes place on the field of play.
These syndicates realized that the fringes of professional sports are vulnerable for exploitations because officials and athletes are frequently underpaid”.
He also acknowledged that fact match-fixing is a global phenomenon, “I must confess where criminals use advanced technology in communication to operate globally with many betting markets both legal and illegal now operating online and in real time, fixers are able to bet on and manipulate matches regardless of their geographic location. Criminals also work in highly organized and mobile networks, and are able to use agents to act as middlemen to manipulate members of the football community globally”.
He proceeded to mention INTERPOL’S Report on match-fixing in football and training needs assessment published on 14 August 2013, indicating that fans who pay for tickets and cable subscriptions are defrauded by this very act.
“Legal gamblers have their monies stolen by the fixers, and the entire sports industry from players, referees and coaches to the clubs, their directors, and advertisers loses when disillusioned fans stop coming”.