Online bets: The Colombian sports’ own-goal.

The interests of the betting houses are here to stay. The sport had never been as seen or as sponsored as now. Everything is to be done: prevention, education, legislation, protection of whistleblowers, exchange of information and kicking out from the sport the gangs that corrupt officers and athletes.

A former professional football player is taken under arrest stopped at home with cash in boxes. Another group of managers and players are captured after a police operation. Eleven people are charged with a criminal organization, corruption in sports and money laundering. This scene occurred in Spain during the last week of May and will continue to happen throughout the world if the authorities do not act on time.

Corruption in sport has many faces. Doping and addictions; abuse; injustice; faults to ethics (inside and outside the pitch); and unsustainability. I refer to match-fixing. The arrival of online bets has brought huge amounts of money into the system, putting the integrity of the sport at risk. This global problem has skyrocketed corruption in sport organizations. In match-fixing act corrupt officials and athletes with criminals, who manipulate the course of the competitions taking advantage of the privileged role of the first in the sports competition.

The online betting business in Colombia is skyrocketing. One of the bookmakers calculated to deliver around 300 US million dollars every day by the end of 2018. Coldeportes reported 500,000 USD as the annual cost of training for 20 athletes with any chance of medals in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. These businesses, open to scam and money laundering, have been rejected by some banks to avoid a bad reputation for his brand. This has not been problematic for any sports organization in Colombia, who have received sponsorship by those businesses, acting against the FIFA’s and IOC’s Code of Ethics (Article 26 and 9 respectively).

It can bet everything, from a score to the alignment. In each game, there are hundreds of variables to bet. Bets cover all kind of sports, from tennis to darts games anywhere in the world. An equation that measures corruption says that corruption equals monopoly plus discretion; less accountability (C = M +D-A). The Colombian sports system has everything against it. Let me explain: The law and the State promote, protect and sponsor the monopoly in sport, so in Colombia, there cannot be any other Colombian Football Federation or any other from another discipline. The discretion is the caution of the leaders to act in secret, without public scrutiny. And accountability refers to the explanations that managers give to athletes and other stakeholders of his procedures. The monopoly, the high discretion, the tiny accountability, and the lack of political culture in the sports movement, have created a free zone for corruption in organized sport.

The interests of the betting houses are here to stay. The sport had never been as seen or as sponsored as now. Everything is to be done: prevention, education, legislation, protection of whistleblowers, exchange of information and kicking out from the sport the gangs that corrupt officers and athletes. This problem is not solved by creating another committee inside some federation, it will be solved within coordinating the actors, who have the solution in their hands. We celebrate that Colombia will host the International Anti-Corruption Conference this year, and we hope that the match-fixing will be part of the agenda.