Following an exposé by ace investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw on an alleged wide scale corruption in the administration of football in Ghana, the Honourable Member of Parliament for Bawku Central constituency, Mr. Mahama Ayariga has suggested the possible involvement of betting companies in match-fixing in the country.
In his statement on the floor of the house, he indicated that match commissioners, referees and other match officials may not be the only category of people who engage in match fixing but betting companies may take key interest in fixing matches to save their companies from financial loses.
He noted that “Sports is an industry. I just looked at the Deloitte and Touche report on the English League and they said that in 2017, the profit made was about two billion pounds. Ghana has such a high reputation for football and could be making hundreds of millions annually in sports betting. Once betting companies emerged and people started betting on almost every match from local, national and international, winning a match became crucial and so the categories of people who had an interest in the outcome of a match, moved from just ordinary owners of the team to some financial entities on the side. So very often, it may not even be the team that would be taking steps to corrupt the referee to achieve a certain outcome. It may be a certain bet company analysing the bet on that match seeing that if a particular team lost, the betting company will be losing so much money. The betting company can therefore sidestep the team and find a way of reaching out to the officials to corrupt them to produce a certain outcome”.
The MP urged the security agencies to investigate such issues and ensure that Ghanaians are not short-changed.
Ghana has witnessed increasing numbers of betting companies across major cities and towns in the last couple of years with increasing patronage by especially young people.