Spot-fixing refers to illegal activity in a sport where a specific part of a game is fixed. Examples include something as minor as timing a no ball or wide delivery in cricket or timing the first throw-in or corner in association football. Spot-fixing attempts to defraud bookmakers illegally by means of a player agreeing to under perform to order by pre-arrangement. As such spot-fixing differs from match fixing, where a whole match is fixed, or point shaving, a specific type of match fixing in which corrupt players (or officials) attempt to limit the margin of victory of the favoured team. Spot-fixing is more difficult to detect than match fixing or point shaving. The advent of Twenty20 cricket is said to have made spot-fixing more difficult to detect as has the growth of Internet gambling and spread betting.
Following his retirement, Matt Le Tissier admitted that he had bet on the timing of the first throw-in in a match he played for Southampton against Wimbledon in 1995. The plan failed when a team mate who was unaware of the scam managed to keep his underhit pass on the pitch. Le Tissier was forced to quickly kick the ball from play to prevent himself losing money on the bet but neither won nor lost money after managing to kick the ball out after 70 seconds. He stated that he felt so silly about the incident that he never attempted it again.
During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported that convicted fixer Wilson Raj Perumal had correctly predicted that Cameroon would lose their group match to Croatia by a score of 4-0 and would have a player sent off in the first half. During the first half match, which Cameroon did in fact lose 4-0, midfielder Alex Song was sent off for a blatant foul away from the ball against Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic. Both Perumal and Song have denied the match fixing allegations.
Spot fixing in cricket first came to international prominence in the 2010 Pakistan tour of England, when it was alleged Pakistani players Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir intentionally bowled no-balls on specific deliveries as part of a conspiracy involving captain Salman Butt to defraud bookmakers. As a result, Salman Butt has been banned for ten years, Asif for seven years and Amir for five years. The matter became a criminal investigation that resulted in custodial sentences for four people involved; in November 2011, Butt was sentenced to 30 months' imprisonment, with Asif being imprisoned for one year and Amir jailed for six months.
In India, three Indian players in IPL Season 6 (2013) were arrested for spot-fixing: Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila. Along with them, 11 bookmakers were arrested. The players have accepted that they have done spot-fixing. The Delhi Police arrested the three players in a post-midnight operation in Mumbai 16 May for spot-fixing in IPL matches for payments of up to Rs. 6 million, just for giving away a pre-determined number of runs in an over. On 13 September, Sreesanth was given a lifetime ban from the sport.
In England, allegations of spot-fixing made against two Essex players, the Pakistani Test bowler Danish Kaneria and Mervyn Westfield, were upheld by the ECB, resulting in a life ban for Kaneria and a five-year ban for Westfield.
Australian rugby league player Ryan Tandy was found guilty of spot-fixing during a 2010 National Rugby League season match between North Queensland and Canterbury-Bankstown. Tandy, playing for Canterbury-Bankstown, was involved in spot-fixing the first score of the match to be a North Queensland penalty goal. Observers noted that there had been an unusually high proportion of bets taken on the penalty goal option for the game. Then, in the opening minutes of the game, Tandy was found to have deliberately conceded a knock-on from the match's kick-off and then a penalty for slowing down the play-the-ball in the Cowboys' first attacking set in front of the goalposts, giving North Queensland a chance to kick an easy penalty goal. As it happened, the spot-fixing attempt was unsuccessful, as North Queensland passed up its penalty goal opportunity and scored a try instead. In 2011, Tandy was found guilty of attempting to dishonestly obtain a financial advantage on 6 October 2011, and he received a six-month correction order from the courts and a life ban from rugby league.
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