Allegation of Spot Fixing in Dutch Eredivisie

Spot fixing is a problem that affects many sports. It has led to jail sentences for cricketers in the past and now football may have a problem.

A recent match played in the Dutch Eredivisie saw a player booked. Now that’s hardly a rare occurrence but the betting surrounding it is. Some rather unusual betting patterns were seen in the lead up to the match.

It’s believed that one gambler placed five bets on the unnamed player being booked. In all, they totalled €3,000. When the player did get booked, it gave the gambler a win of €13,000. Two others also bet on the player being booked and won around €1,000 each.

Reports allege that Tom Beugedsdijk of Sparta Rotterdam is part of the ongoing investigation, but this has not been confirmed. The defender has been booked in two recent matches against Venlo and Zwolle. Sparta says there is no problem in him continuing to play for them at present.

It’s hard to say whether this is the first possible case of spot or match fixing in the Netherlands. Marjan Olfers is a professor of sports law at the VU University in Amsterdam. The professor is of the opinion that the Netherlands is “a kind of blind spot” when it comes to this subject. It could be a larger problem than currently thought with organisations behind any illegal activities, the professor added.

2009 saw an investigation into a match between Willem II and FC Utrecht. Players on the Willem II side were allegedly offered €25,000 to ensure Utrecht won the match. The match was won by Utrecht 1-0 but there was not enough evidence to prove any wrongdoing.

This comes at a time when online sports betting in the Netherlands is due to be legalised. A deal was recently made between the Netherlands Olympic Committee * Dutch Sports Federation (NOC*NSF) and Sportradar Integrity Services.

Sportradar will be looking at many Dutch sports events and this includes football. Over 1,500 matches will be looked at. They monitor global betting markets so if anything out of the ordinary takes place, it’ll be investigated. A risk analysis of betting on Dutch sport events will be given to the NOC*NSF.

It’s only the betting patterns that indicate something may not be right with the booking. Just think how easy it is to get yourself booked in a game of football? A rash tackle, handball, wasting time or just shouting at an official, easy, isn’t it?

One problem is the sheer number of markets you can bet on in sporting events. Being able to bet on whether no-balls can be bowled in cricket led to a major court case and convictions. Little advantage is gained by a no-ball being bowled, if the players hadn’t overstepped the mark by so much, it might not have been noticed.

A police spokesman says they are taking this incident “very seriously.” If they believe some spot fixing did take place a fraud charge could be forthcoming.