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Criminal Networks enjoy Sports

Sport is a multi-billion dollar business which attracts more and more criminal organizations. Corruption, match-fixing and doping represent the dark side of sports. Europol revealed a few month ago that it has dismantled a network suspected of fixing 380 Football (soccer) matches in more than 60 countries. In fact the use of internet gambling networks has made it extremely easy for organized criminal groups to bet anywhere in the world and to make large profits. And they choose the most popular sports. The top 5 in the world are Football with over 3,5 billion fans, Cricket with 2 to 3 billion fans, then Tennis, Table Tennis and Baseball. An example to underline the firepower and large impact of sports. Manchester United which is the most popular sport team on the planet has over 450 million fans all around the world. But the alarm is already sounding and Governments, Sport Federations, Lottery websites, Laboratories agreed to join efforts in order to combat the organized crime. But this will not be easy because the profits generated by these operations are huge. As for 2013, the operations coordinated by Interpol to disrupt the illegal soccer gambling activities of criminal networks in Asia only, have resulted in the closure of gambling dens which handled illegal bets worth more than USD 2 billion! The most appropriate response to this issue will come from the firms sponsor because corruption in the sport can have a serious negative impact on the companies or brands that are associated with it. Sponsors fear above all that their image could be degraded and that eventually consumers might boycott their products. Entrepreneurs take this risk seriously into consideration.

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