Betting Scandals...Betting Scandals...Betting Scandals... we hear these words echoing around the sporting world on a regular basis. Before we know it corruption could not only distort sport, but also destroy it.
The recent Europol allegations are a stark reminder of previous misdemeanours involving some of sport's most high profile personalities, the disgraceful acts of three Pakistani cricketers and John Higgins having only just been freshly brushed underneath the carpet.
In 2010, snooker world champion John 'The Wizard of Wishaw' Higgins joined forces with a betting syndicate in Kiev to fix frames in four different matches against well-known players. In the same year, three members of the Pakistani cricket team Salman Butt, Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Amir were found to have been taking money from bookmaker Mazhar Majeed, the shameless trio threw no-balls during a test match in 2010 at Lords, the home of cricket.
It is evident that Asif had previous misdemeanours, he was tested positive for nandrolone in 2008 and was banned for a year. It could be argued that the ban wasn't significant enough because he escaped serious punishment and followed it up with an action which not only tarnished his character but the image of cricket.
Now the question arises about the punishments handed out in these major sporting controversies, there doesn't seem to be any continuity in the sentencing of those found guilty of corruption within sport. For example, the Pakistani players received bans between five to ten years whereas Higgins received a relatively short ban of six months. Do you think Higgins was treated differently because he was the world champion?
It is clear that, in both cases; sportsmen were caught cheating within their respective sports in pursuit of personal monetary gain. However, both seemed to have been dealt with very differently in term of the punishments given to the culprits. Sport's governing bodies should stand together and consider the penalties for such endeavours in a similar and severe way, sending out a clear message to those in the sporting arena.
This disgraceful involvement of players fixing matches in cricket has old roots, in 2000 Hansie Cronje was banned from international cricket for life. From South Africa's national hero the man became the infamous villain of cricket fixing scandals. Hershelle Gibbs during that time had accepted money from Cronje to under perform, he was only banned for six months.
Did the lenient bans of the past flash through the minds of the two bowlers before they delivered the no-balls? Would it be fair to say they assumed if Gibbs was handed a six-month ban then they could get away with it in similar fashion?
In the Europol investigation, if players are found guilty of fixing a football match they should face a lengthy punishment similar to that of the Pakistani cricket players because if consequences are of such a high level, in future, sporting individuals will think twice before attempting to get involved in match fixing. A severe punishment would mean significant damage to their sporting careers.
The only option remaining for the sports industry to potentially eradicate betting scandals is by implementing severe punishments, this will question the minds of the sportsmen and women before launching themselves into this catastrophes.
Everyone associated with the sporting world will hope serious action is taken against the corruption currently blighting the heart of sport. The mayhem surrounding similar scandals needs critical attention if we are to experience an end to cheating and corruption currently prevalent in sport at the present time.