Why do these cases seem to appear to be more frequent in modern day sport than previously? An obvious answer is that there is so much more media coverage. It is perhaps as much a matter of perception than of fact. A hundred years ago a person either attended a sports event in person or else read about it in the newspaper after the event. Then came radio and film reports. In the 1930 outside broadcasts began from sporting events such as the Oxford /Cambridge boat race and football matches. Wimbledon was the first broadcast in 1937 and the Football Association Cup final the following year according to ‘The BBC Story’ (undated).
Now in the 21st century, we have instant replays, coverage around the globe, and much more in the way of electronic and medical checks. Starting blocks in athletic races, for instance, can tell a split second when a runner leaves the blocks. An instant replay will show cheating that a referee and linesmen may have missed. There are also many more checks such as blood and urine tests which show up various prohibited substances – on occasions those taken inadvertently in such things as flu remedies. It is also possible to spot unusual betting patterns electronically. FIFA, for instance, has an Early Warning System GmbH ( 2011) which looks at betting patterns. None of these checks were present earlier so, if there was any corruption, it would have been much less obvious and harder to prove.
Football – according to Sepp Blatter, FIFA president, in a report of May 2010, referees are a weak link when it comes to fighting corruption. So much so that before the 2006 World Cup referees had security guards posted at their hotels and were not allowed to take or make outside calls. Their fees have been increased as an incentive – so it almost looks like do wrong and be rewarded.
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