top of page

Corruption in Sports


Corruption can be described in varied form and it has been defined as ‘dishonest and illegal behavior’. In philosophical, theological, or moral discussions, corruption is spiritual or moral impurity or deviation from an ideal (Wikipedia, 2013).

Maennig (2005) offers a more relevant definition which can be applied to match fixing, suggesting that “in sport, corruption may take the form of behaviour by athletes who refrain from achieving the level of performance normally required in the sport in question to win the competition and instead intentionally permit others to win, or behaviour by sporting officials who consciously perform their allocated tasks in a manner at variance with the objectives and moral values of the relevant club, association, competitive sports in general and/or society at large” .

However, the following definition gives the most significant explanation to the context of this research paper, “Corruption in sport involves any illegal, immoral or unethical activity that attempts to deliberately distort the result of a sporting contest for the personal material gain of one or more parties involved in that activity” (Gorse & Chadwick, 2010).

In simplest form, the corruption can be found in each occurrences but corruption in sports, not only an individual affects, the entire world and even history will be violated. From the historical perspective, at the Olympic Games in 388BC, Eupolos Thessalia bribed three of his competitors in a fighting tournament, allowing him to win. This evidence stated that corruption in sport not new phenomenon. The modern Olympic association has also constantly fought against corruption and had to change its values in order to attempt to keep it out of the games.

Amateurism is a philosophy that the Olympic movement owes its foundation to, as Coubertin originally established the Paris Congress of June 1894 to discuss the issue of amateurism, and only later did the revival of the Olympic Games join the discussion. The result of the meeting was a strict code of amateurism was established along the following guidelines for what constitutes a professional. “Any individual who has never participated in a competition open to all comers, nor completed for a cash prize, or for a prize of any amount of money regarding of its source, specifically from admissions to the field-or-with professionals-and who had never been, at any time in his life, a teacher or paid instructor in physical exercise”.

However, the strict code of amateurism broke after year 1971 when firstly Article 26 removed from the charter. The presences of amateurs are fade and can be seen as a form of corruption. Notable example, the Soviet athletes, known by the IOC to be professionals, as there were reports that they were given awards and cash prizes for performances.  The standards in Olympics continued to be damaged since 1908, London Olympics officially proved that the allegations of corruption from United States and British.  The ideals of international sports dramatically demolished and corruption has been a major contributor to the problem.

Problem statement

Sports has connection with humanistic values and it formats life and ethics of billions of people on the one side. It is also connected dirty business, doping, corruption and violence on the other side. For eliminating and preventing corruption, identifying the corruption and areas where it occurs is most significant. The corruption can appears in almost any imaginable areas of sports. Match fixing and gambling, sponsorship or misusing of sport funds and consuming drugs are the main scope of corruption. Denying corruption in sport does not protect the core values of sports as it is sometimes declared and vice versa it only helps corrupted people in sport to hide their involvement.

Match fixing and gambling

Match fixing is a controversial issue in international sports among well-developed and colonized countries. The enormous reasons are can be listed for the gambling and it is not only started in modern sports. In seventh and eighth centuries, the cricket matches used as gambling contests for the gentry. In modern period, sport and gambling have kept close relations and has endures many scandals of corruption linked to match fixing. Obviously, horse racing has been licensed for betting by half of world governments and rich societies are spending their wealth for the entertainment. As a consequence, this association has long been an issue of criticism and will always continue to be so.

Gambling in sport often been the focus of media related reports on corruption involving athletes. The eager of earning money in short period damages the integrity of sport and diminish the ethic of fair play. This damages the sports reputation among potential competitors, spectators and sponsors and future of the sports. IOC President Jacque Rogge gave an interview about the dangers of match fixing and how it even supersedes that of the problem of doping. Some of his words, “Doping effects one individual athlete… But the impact of match fixing effects the whole competition. It much bigger”. “If matches are fixed, they become unattractive for spectators to attend and businesses to invest in as they can no longer be associated with a clean living healthy image that business desires from their association with sport”, he added.

A current unpredictable issue in international sports is match fixing in cricket, three Pakistani cricketers were given minimum five year bans for their part in a match fixing scandal, where the players bowled illegitimate delivers in certain instances. On the other side, in Japan, corruption through match fixing has been financially harmful to Sumo Wrestling and diminished it from being a well renowned national sport to a sideshow (Mehaffy.J, 2010).  In 2008, snooker fame Steve Davies said publicly the dangerous of the sport, “I’m worried about the game’s future. We are struggling for sponsors as it is. We don’t want snooker tarnished by match fixing”. The recent phenomenon reveals the current critical situation in international sports.

Referees or those who are responsible to upload the integrity of the games are also prone to be involved in corruption behavior. German Football Association (2005) reported referee Robert Hoyzer for betting and fixing several matches that he engaged. Moreover, Winter Olympics (2002) witnessed corruption from French Judge, Marie-Renie Le Gouge, who voted for the Russian pair in the figure skating competition in order to help French pair competing in the Ice dancing competition.

In short, the examples and proofs show that the scope of gambling plays the significant role in the sports’ integrity as well as it diminishes the core values of the sports and the future athletes only can been seen in imaginary.

Consuming drugs in sports

Performance—enhancing drugs are any substance taken to perform better athletically and refers to anabolic steroid use in sports by professional and amateur athletes. Consuming ‘substances’ for sporting events started during ancient Greek and Maya. Performance potions were utilized by the Greeks and cocoa leaves where thought to be used by the ancient Maya to increase their abilities.

Today, steroids, human growth hormone (HGH), Amphetamines, Tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), modafinil and even animal or human organs used by the athletes to increase their ability and performance. The use of banned performance-enhancing drugs in sports is commonly referred to as doping, particularly by the organizations that regulate sporting competitions. Some athletes who were found to have used modafinil protested as the drug was not on the prohibited list at the time of their offences. However, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned the drugs on 3 August 2004, ten days before the start of the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Not only individual sports alike bicycling, weight- lifting and track and field, football  also associated with performance enhancing drugs, the case of Diego Maradona and cocaine in 1991 being best known. In triathlon, 2004 Hawaii Ironman winner Nina Kraft, was disqualified for a doping offences. In October 2012, the USADA released evidence to confirm their doping claim against cyclist Lance Armstrong. According to USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart, the evidence against Armstrong includes, “…scientific data and laboratory test results that further prove the use, possession and distribution of performance enhancing drugs”.

Many sports organizations have banned the use of performance enhancing drugs and have very strict rules and penalties for people who are caught using them. The quality of these drugs may be poor and can cause health risks. However, some countries such as Mexico and Thailand allowed and regulated the uses of steroid and illegal issues and crimes are unsolved by WADA alike cheating in testing by replacing other’s sample and some substance are using to endure the presence of drugs.

Moreover, the debate over making drugs legal for use is one that will undoubtedly continue and the moral issues of their use will always be at the forefront.

Sponsorship in international sports.

Sport marketing is divided into three sectors. The first is the advertising of sport and sports associations such as the Olympics, Spanish Football league and the NFL.  Second, it concerns the use of sporting events, sporting teams and individual athletes to promote various products. The third is the promotion of sport to the public in order to increase participation.

The desire of sponsorship to associate with the benefits spot provides to the social, cultural and economic character of a region and country. Today, sporting organizations are concerned by their commercial interests and provides an opportunity of exchange of support for rights and association.

Golfer legend Tiger Wood has plenty sponsors and the estimation of his 2007 deal with sports drink manufacturer Gatorade was reportedly worth over USD 100m. Approximately 78% of respondents stated that they would try this new variety of drink. Guardian (2010) claimed that 80% of David Beckham’s USD 40m income came from sponsorship. Top world’s highest-paid athletes are Tiger Woods followed by Roger Federer, fame tennis player, annual contract of USD 71.5m. and per game USD 6.5m. fully sponsored by popular carbonated drink company.

When the sponsor is involved in controversial matters such as corruptive behavior, one of the significant impacts as they are linked with competitors that brings the sport into discredit. Besides, the sponsors used to drop the losers or failed to upload the integrity of sports such as Barry Bonds and Jaason Giambi who lost sponsorship from Mastercard and Pepsi due to scandals involving steroids.

Furthermore, the athletes’ scandal issues disgrace insurance policies bought by the multinational companies fearful that investments in association with ‘clean athletes ‘could stain their reputations. The insurance broker Lockton stated that “If you start buying disgrace insurance there’s a cost, so people are starting to look at types of promotion that are not to do with a certain individual.” This shows the impacts corruption in international sports has on the desire of organization to associate with sport.


Corruption already existed at the time of the “good old” Olympic Games of the Antique Era and it continues to exist in modern competitive sport. Even considerable level of undiscovered cases are taken into consideration, there is still no proof that corruption in sport is on the increase or is more widespread in sport than corruption in other field. Corruption has a major effect on those that keep professional sports functioning spectators, media and sponsors.

This overview of corruption cases or possible corruption cases shows that corruption does occur in all aspects of professional sport. On this report, simply concluded that corruption or suspicion of corruption appears in many different aspect of sport life so it cannot be a case of only limited area of sport, like relation to betting. This has happened because of the desire to win for both nationalistic and material value.

On the other side, more and more athletes come out in support of Anti-Doping organizations, such as British Olympian, Chris Hoy. Coubertin should be proud of such men and organization. Sports stands as an important societal intuition and is considered as important in relaying ideals, norms and values on those who participated or spectate. Hope, WADA and other organization which related to any kind of sports keep corruption out of their sports show. Heal the world from the corruption.


Bures, R. (2008). Why sport is not immune to corruption. Strasbourg: EPAS.

Chadwick, G. &. (2010). The Prevalence of Corruption international sports. United States.

English football sponsership. (2013). Retrieved from Wikipedia:

etc., P. &. (2011). Sports betting and corruption :How to preserve the integrity of s. China: IRIS .

Gorse, S. a. (2010). Conceptualising Corruption in Sports: Impliccation for Sponsorship Programmes. Retrieved from Euroeian Business Review:

Maening, W. (2008). Corruption in international sports and how it may be combated. United States: IASE/NAASE.

Mehaffey, J. (2010). Corruption destroys contract between athlete and fan . Retrieved from http://uk-cricket-corruption-idUK

Sports Marketing . (2013). Retrieved from Wikipedia:

The highest world’s rank athlete . (2013). Retrieved from Forbes:

15 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Westernization on Culture

1.1 Introduction Westernization is defined as a process whereby societies come under or adapt to the Western culture. The adoption is done in many aspects as in industry, technology, medicine, politic

Is United Nation an independent body?

The United Nation (UN) is an organisation created in 1945 to promote international cooperation on all aspect of social and economic development. Its objectives include maintaining international peace

Child Labour Should Be Abolished in the world

Introduction Millions of children in many parts of the world, children are working to feed their families today. Most of the time their jobs are harmful and repressive. Almost 40-50 percent of those c


bottom of page