Officials are on high alert for potential match-fixing at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. It seems with the growth in popularity the women’s league has seen in recent years, comes more attention from betters. Games in this year’s tournament are reportedly drawing millions of dollars in bets, making it a lucrative target for fixers worldwide.
Other women’s soccer leagues across the world have already seen a spike in fixing activities, like the 21 arrests made last year relating to match-fixing in the Spanish women’s top division and men’s third division teams.
FIFA concerned about match-fixing risks in women’s league
As we have touched on in previous posts, the threat of match-fixing tends to be higher in divisions where players struggle to make money. Those looking to influence matches have even turned to young players. Last year, match-fixers offered three players from Belgium’s under-16 women’s team $50,000 each to fix games. All three players refused.
Although the Women’s World Cup is undoubtedly a high-profile event, the players are paid a fraction of the wages of their male counterparts, leading FIFA authorities to fear match fixers will target these players. In fact, FIFA leaders are actively encouraging the 24 teams participating in the World Cup to educate players on what to do if approached about fixing a match.
Teams worldwide taking match-fixing seriously
In response to growing concerns about illegal influences on the World Cup, managers of Norway’s team gave a presentation on match-fixing to players at the pre-tournament training camp in May. According to Reuters, Nordic soccer leagues have seen several high-profile match-fixing trials over the last few years.
As the tournament continues through June and into July, FIFA will operate a program it told the New York Times was “its most extensive to date” to counter attempts to manipulate matches.