In every game or any kind of organized sport, match-fixing in games, a race, or other sports occurs when matches are played to pre-determined outcomes. Match-fixing refers to a fixation of match or game results so as to favour a specific group or team. It might also be beneficial to a club, organization, or even a nation. All efforts to fix a match (no matter how negligible they are) are considered illicit. This act is a violation of rules of the game and, in most cases, of the law too. Therefore, any manner of manipulation, by the involved parties (e.g., match officials, competitors, teams, players, agents, and referees among others) by intentionally fixing results, teams underperforming deliberately, withdrawal, misapplication of rules by officials, abuse and acquisition of insider information to manipulate bets, is regarded as a serious misconduct. Every Australian expects fair play and good sportsmanship in whichever game or sport they are affiliated with. Professional and lower-grade competitions harbour a lot of corruption that flow from match-fixing. This is motivated by the selfish financial or personal gain. Some sports and betting games reward the winners with very high amounts of money. Those high gains may provide a cause for the involved parties to influence the game results. If left ungoverned, this vice may devalue and destroy the integrity of sports and bring down their image in Australia. Sports and games are a tool of development and support for many aspects of the Australian society[i]. It is in light of these culture threatening issues that a national policy on match-fixing has been developed and adopted to help curb corruption in the sporting industry. The policy aims to maximize confidence from the public and also provide a fair play to all parties. It also intends to let all Australian governments work as partners with all sporting agencies, organizations, and sport institutions to ensure Australian sport integrity is preserved and protected from all manner of corruption arising from match-fixing.
The problem of match-fixing is mostly based on ideology. Those are sets of ideas that make up a person’s own goals and what one hopes to achieve. It is motivated by the urge to achieve. However, the problem may have a scientific explanation based on psychology. Some individuals possess a higher urge of achieving than others. Therefore, such characters may go a mile further to acquire dominance. These are the individuals who would manipulate results, bribe match officials, offer handsome rewards to opponents, or pay for insider info – all in an effort to gain either at a personal level, a club or even nationally[ii]. This policy is set to ensure that such individuals, states, clubs, or organizations do not succeed within their levels of participation locally or abroad.
Australian authorities have a major role and obligation to address the problems associated with match-fixing. To achieve this, the national policy on match-fixing in sports and other gaming activities has been created and plans are under way to implement the program in all levels of sports, be it at the national levels or the grassroots. The policy contains very clear-cut stipulations, principles, legislations, purpose, and roles of the involved participants (e.g. the government, sporting organizations, players, match officials, referees, owners, and others). In addition, a national oversight to coordinate and monitor sports functions has been enforced. It is easy to understand and implement the stipulated conditions and terms of agreements. They are put in layman terms, that is the ones that do not require high education qualifications to understand. It is well-structured to meet the demands of people, fans, and participants who wish to see fair play in all games. It has a simple hierarchy to guide one on how to report incidences of fraud, threat, or any other form of manipulation to the relevant authority in sports.
This policy, if well implemented, will be quite effective since it is the first of its kind. There is a high likelihood that it will be effective if well managed and controlled by all the involved committees and participants. The Australian federal government has already expressed positive remarks and said that good progress has been made on the introduction of the nationwide policy to curb match-fixing in sports and games[iii]. The policy is expected to be fully effective next year. This plan of implementing the policy intends to see the gaming codes set international standards and integrity both locally for the Australians and internationally to the rest of the world.
The purpose of any policy or regulations is to govern and bring about order where there was none or where some type of misconduct[iv] may have been experienced. Sporting and gaming activities in Australia are corruption-filled and rules must be made to help curb its growth to other levels in local and international fields[v]. Based on this fact, radical changes in the sporting field are expected to happen. The Australian government has expressed high hopes on the performance of the new policy on match-fixing which is due to take effect next year. The policy is founded on a nationally consistent basis in order to deter and prevent match-fixing in Australia. Its effort to spread globally so as to curb corruption in sport is further made possible by the international institutions with strict codes of conduct in place to monitor its progress. Therefore, this policy stands a high chance of being effective in an effort to minimize and finally eliminate match-fixing in Australia. Positive changes can, therefore, be expected given the effort the government and the entire sporting fraternity have put in.
The policy is quite easy to understand with a simple layout and construction. It clearly stipulates the context, purpose, and role of every party involved. However, more strict measures need to be included in the policy so that it could be more conforming to its cause[vi]. Also, technical terms need to be interpreted well so as to avoid confusion or ambiguous translation. In addition to the above, the government needs to put investigation officers who would work to root out the corrupt individuals associated with match-fixing. A task force is, therefore, needed to ensure these measures are effectively implemented. All involved parties (i.e. the Australian governments, betting organizations, sporting organizations, clubs, match representatives, officials, and others) need to show commitment to this initiative by reporting all the manners of corruption to a central authority. Therefore, a neutral body to receive formal complaints needs to be put in place to ensure fair play and avoid corruption arising from acts of match-fixing in sports and gaming fields.
In conclusion, the Australian government, in conjunction with the various sports ministries, has done a remarkable job in proposing the policy[vii] on match-fixing in sports. Although the project is halfway, the positive response from the public and all sports institutions has been already voiced. With such a policy, some corruption behaviours are likely to end[viii]. If the stipulated terms and condition are met, Australians will be able to enjoy sports without the fear of manipulation of outcomes. It is every individual’s duty to ensure that this policy becomes a success story.