Thursday, 25 January 2007

Modus Operandi of Corruption in English Football

Conspiracy Theories (CTs) are fiendishly problematic to prove analytically as very few of us are close enough to the levers of power to determine the structure and it is consequently extremely difficult to differentiate between reality, spin and disinformation.
Fortunately, organised corruption in football does not fall into this category and, in this post, we focus on why we are convinced that some referees are corrupting the game in the interests of bookmakers.
Prior to going any further, we must state the limitations of this article. For legal reasons and in the interests of our proprietary trading, we will not name any of the individuals or companies. Our lawyers are risk averse and we thrive on our isolationism.
The Premiership referee roster features 19 officials. Our Trading Team have thoroughly analysed the performances of each of these officials for the duration of their involvements in the league. We assess their holistic decision making and any biases exhibited in every single game. This is excruciatingly boring but vitally necessary as the manipulation is often very subtle.
A few of these officials show a statistically significant and very disturbing inverse correlation between their decision making and the liabilities experienced by certain market makers. Put simply, if the bookmakers will lose heavily on a victory for Team A then the referees favour Team B.
Although the market analysis is extremely complex this is corruption, pure and simple.
As we have stated before, we make money out of analysing this corruption as do several other top Trading Teams. The officials and the bookmakers involved in the corruption make considerably more money than us but everybody else loses - the fans, most clubs, the leisure punter and the game. Additionally, global betting turnover on the Premiership varies between £5m and £200m per game so referees can have marked financial consequences for both traders and layers across the planet. Effectively, corruption goes hand in hand with the market manipulation.
Some players and clubs are separately involved in manipulating the outcomes of games in which they are involved - this type of behaviour may be in league with the bookies or solely an internal affair. The analytical situation in the former case is akin to the structure with respect to referees while, in the latter case, the key is to determine where these people are placing their money.
The most difficult form of corruption to analyse is undoubtedly the rogue operator - an individual who acts on his own and trades secretly. The prime way to root out such players is to monitor their performances when their club faces a structural breakpoint. For example, if we suspect that a player is a rogue operator, we await a change in management at the club. This individual must now perform well in the early part of the new regime to convince the new manager of his abilities otherwise his options for external future earnings will be undermined. We would then expect him to return to type once he has cemented his place in the team. Generally, we are still not able to be secure in our knowledge of when this particular player will be hot and when not but we are now certain of his identity at least.
We've detailed extensively in other posts how to deal with manipulative collaboration between bookmakers and match officials. With regard to players and/or clubs, it must be made illegal for active participants in games to trade on either their own or, indeed, any other match. When Gianluigi Buffon is discovered in possession of betting slips totalling £2m Euros and an unnamed Premiership manager allegedly bet £12m with Victor Chandler in one season, the potential for corruption is too great to ignore.
The assertion by Graeme Souness that English football is "the most honest in the world" still causes raucous laughter around the trading room.