aRE THERE FIXED GAMES? where? How?
Some 300 football games a season are fixed in Europe's top leagues, experts say. The BBC's Tim Mansel gains exclusive access to Sportradar, which tracks betting on football matches all over the world, looking for evidence of suspicious behaviour.
The former German football manager Sepp Herberger once famously said that people go to football matches because they do not know who will win. I have just watched a match in the almost certain knowledge not only of who would win, but with a fairly shrewd idea of what the score would be.
I was right on both counts. This game was played last weekend in the top division of a European league and I was not the only one who knew. At least £1.5m (€1.76m) was wagered on this game via betting exchanges - a game that would normally have attracted perhaps £50,000 (€58,800).
"We reckon that around 300 games a year are fixed in Europe," says Darren Small, director of integrity at Sportradar, a company that monitors more than 30,000 games across Europe for signs of betting patterns that may indicate a game is fixed.
Suspect scorelinesIt is Saturday morning in a small office in southwest London. Darren's team is preparing for a busy weekend of football in Europe - 400 games on Saturday, a similar number on Sunday.
There is a certain buzz of expectation, because Oscar, one of the fraud analysts, has spotted a game he is sure has been fixed.
"We've been watching this for a couple of weeks now," he says.
"The odds have gone to a very suspicious level. We believe that this game will finish in an away victory. Usually an away team would have around a 30% chance of winning, but at the current odds this team is about 85% likely to win."
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