In May of 2013 the Sports Confederation of Denmark (DIF) announced a new code of conduct related to matchfixing. In addition to manipulation of game results, matchfixing is defined as to also include betting on own victories and use of sensitive information to gain unfair advantages under the term “unethical behavior”. This guide is created to help the members of the Danish Handball Players’ Association (HSF) and others to understand why it is important to focus on matchfixing, what the new rules mean, and how you avoid making yourself guilty of matchfixing as handball player.
Why matchfixing is dangerous
Matchfixing is a threat to the soul of the sport. But while another great threat, doping, distorts competition, then matchfixing removes the element of competition totally. This is a problem as it is the element of completion that makes sports such as handball something different than a gymnastic display or a concert. Merely the suspicion that matchfixing takes place in a tournament, can be enough to destroy the trust of the sport, which attracts fans, spectators and participants. This is why matchfixing must be stopped.
The rules from DIF
The DIF Code of Conduct goes beyond manipulation of results by creating the term “unethical behavior”, which describes act that are not direct manipulation, but are still deemed problematic. This is e.g. betting on own victories or using sensitive information to let a third part receive an unfair advantage when betting. The reason why this is problematic is that it can become a slippery slope. Betting on own victories, makes you used to playing on own games, and then it is easier to lure yourself into betting on ties or losses if the reward is big enough. It could also attract unscrupulous individuals to target you to fix competitions either in return for money or even by blackmail.
Using sensitive information to gain unfair advantages is a key part of the new code of conduct. The thought is that everyone that bets on games should have access to the same information and as such it is the same principle as insider trading on stock markets. The information, this you need to be careful about is e.g. tactics, injuries, illness, starting formations, etc. as these are not publically available. So if your partner, friend or the person that overheard you talking about it in the café, uses this information to gain an unfair advantage, YOU can now be found guilty of matchfixing.
Avoid making yourself guilty
The most important principles are therefore:
• Know the rules
• It is safest to never bet on your sport
• Be careful about handling sensitive information
• Fixing any part of an event is a no-go
• Report any approaches
Because matchfixing includes more than purposely losing a game, it is important to know the rules in order to not unknowingly breaking them. A matchfixing conviction can be damaging for the reputation of the sport and the player, so if you are in doubt about what is allowed, contact HSF to gain further information and guidance on 33 12 11 28 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
DIF has also created a matchfixing hotline, which can be reached on 70 70 70 94 or email@example.com. You can read DIF’s own presentation of the rules and the hotline HERE (in Danish).