Scoreline is not all that counts in game of corners, frees and possible penalties
THE term "match fixing" fuels the general perception that the final result of a game is fixed -- but this is often not the case.
The growth of spread betting means that punters can earn large sums of money on events within a match that have nothing to do with the final outcome.
Spread betting opened up a whole new range of markets, allowing people to bet specifically on events such as the timing of the first goal, first corner kick and even the first throw in.
In his autobiography, the former England international Matthew Le Tissier, a Premier League star who enjoyed a long career with Southampton, revealed that he tried to earn almost £10,000 with a friend by deliberately kicking the ball out of play in the opening minute of a game.
Bookies had priced up the possibility of the ball leaving the pitch in the first 60 seconds of a televised encounter with Wimbledon, and Le Tissier admitted to spotting the value with a view to making easy money.
But the plot went wrong when he failed to put enough power on his attempted clearance over the sideline and the ball stayed in play for 70 seconds despite his best efforts.
The alleged matchfixer, arrested earlier this week as part of the latest investigation, revealed that his favoured bets included staking on the number of goals within a game, a market which is very popular with punters.
Individual markets that have also been deemed open to manipulation include betting on a red card or a penalty kick being awarded during the 90 minutes.
Suspicion surrounded one League of Ireland game last year after a large number of bets were lodged on a penalty being awarded during a particular match.
An investigation ultimately found that there was nothing untoward, but it emphasised how the search for irregularities runs deeper than simply looking at matches with an unusual final scoreline.