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Spanish Authorities Arrest 1st Pro Footballer for Match Fixing

Jorge Morcillo involved in match fixing
Source: Diario AS

Segunda star and Almería captain Jorge Morcillo is a man who is used to seeing his name in the newspapers. The central defender has led his team to many a victory and a few disappointments since joining the side in 2015. Now, Morcillio is back in the news, this time for being the first Spanish player in the Primera or Segunda division to be arrested on charges of match fixing.

Morcillo was just about to board a plane to Italy for a short holiday when police arrested him in connection with suspected illegal betting activities and alleged match fixing. Morcillo was just one of 19 people arrested in the “Operation Cortes” sting which was put together to look into the unlawful practice of match fixing in Spanish football. It is believed that Morillo was involved in rigging a game between the Andalusian side and Gimnastic back in January.

Why Mocillo Was Arrested

While he did not play in the match himself, he was said to have orchestrated the one-all draw. According to popular betting site Federbet, they began to have suspicions about match fixing when an abnormal number of bets were placed on the results of Segunda match shortly before kick-off. Other Almería games have also come into the spotlight including the Almería-Nàstic de Tarragona played at the Mediterranean Games Stadium in January. Police are looking into the strange pattern of online betting on all previous Almería games. If it does come to light that match fixing was an issue and that the games were rigged, many bettors are sure to want to stick to playing Blackjack in the future, as at least then, the results cannot be rigged!

If he is found guilty, Jorge will face criminal charges with heavy fines and possibly jail time. While the scandal has rocked the Spanish football community, this is the not the first time a football player has been in the spotlight for match fixing.

How Match Fixing Works

For those who are unsure of how it works, match fixing involves persuading a team or individual to “throw” a game so that prospective bettors can be sure of the results. Players are paid out a cash sum for rigging the match while the online betting syndicate profits from placing thousands of dollars in bets.

The match fixing system is usually initiated by a betting ring that approaches key players like the captain or strikers. They offer the player or the team a certain cash sum to ensure they do not score or allow their defence to get sloppy. If the result goes the right way, the bettors are paid handsomely from the online betting sites and the players get an extra cash boost.

Needless to say, the practise is completely illegal but quite prevalent in the world of sport. Just about every sport from soccer to cricket, American football to ice hockey, tennis and even eSports has seen its share of match fixing scandals. Recently six English football players were arrested in connection with fixing matches in British lower league football matches.

Who Benefits?

According to the police, it is easier for bettors to approach the lower league teams, as they are more susceptible to bribery as their salaries are lower. The matches also remain out of the spotlight and results tend to be ignored. It is the betting sites that tip off the police when the see an abnormal number of wagers placed on “less important” games. Every time there is unusual behaviour in the market, this sends up a red flag and must be looked at in relation to past games.

This same pattern is seen across all of the sports. The people who instigate the match fixing are part of large betting syndicates with millions of dollars ready to be used for wagers that can guaranteed a profit. While most sports are regulated and kept within the confines of fair and competitive activities, the rise of online betting has meant that there are more opportunities for illegal activities to take place, and that those who want to rig the system have greater opportunities to do so.