Saturday, 12 January 2008

The Incentives Of Sporting Corruption

Everybody has got a price.
According to our own individual and hidden agendas, shareholder capitalism enforces that we all set proprietary thresholds relating to our employment and consultancy choices, our environmental footprint and our degree of competitiveness in the workplace. Some people also set proprietary benchmarks relating to the use of inside information, bribery, kickbacks, corruption, criminality and coercion.
The shareholder capitalist model is dependent on a key chain of inputs - capital > incentives > innovation > corruption. Via the creation of such a psychopathic system, people are forced to make their individual choices in the knowledge that this system is a cowboy territory where excessive rewards are gained by reaching the bottom of the barrel ahead of one's competitors.
As we have repeatedly pointed out, the absolute lack of regulation for the major operators in this warped system is the backdrop which enables the corruptions and the resultant illicit profits to be achieved. If there was any real external overview of business and financial behaviours, we would be in the marginally preferable territory of stakeholder capitalism whose input chain is truncated to capital > incentives > innovation. Obviously, such a system still has no validity as vast swathes of our global village are denied access to the first step of this process through a lack of capital, property, assets or the option of nepotistic fast tracking.
And such regulation that does exist is highly regressive ie the individuals outside of the corrupt loop are targeted while the big boys (and it is almost exclusively boys) are allowed to feather their off-shore financial nests without anything so irritating as red tape. This week, the sporting world has provided us with some suitable examples to demonstrate this fallacious system.
Tennis and athletics are actually cleaner than most other predominantly solo sports. Yet, media attention has been firmly focused on these two sports for over six months now and the process of the "cleansing" of the sports has finally now reached fruition. Prior to looking at other sports, we'll swiftly assess the ludicrously blinkered approach of the law and the institutions to the mass of corruption which dominates male sport across the world.
As we have pointed out previously, 80% of clinical psychopaths are male and the first issue to be raised is this - why is the media focus on alleged corruption only happening in women's sport? Yesterday, Olympian Marion Jones was sentenced to six months in jail for lying about steroid use and her involvement in a drugs fraud case. She had pleaded guilty, had been stripped of her Olympic medals and is banned from running. Mother-of-two, Jones, asked the judge, Kenneth Karas, to be "as merciful as a human being can be" which fell on deaf ears as Karas gave her the maximum sentence allowed under the plea bargain "because of the need for general deterrence and the need to promote respect for the law". Nonsense. Ben Johnson, Kelli White, Justin Gatlin, LaTasha Jenkins and, now, Marion Jones - spot the pattern? All are Black North Americans athletes and all were banned. There was no US-based prosecution or trial of leading white cyclist, Floyd Landis, after testing revealed that the Tour de France 2006 winner had an abnormally high testosterone/ epitestosterone ratio. After being stripped of the title, Landis' punishment was being sacked by his team, Phonak Hearing Systems, which is slightly less challenging than six months spent in a US penitentiary, really. Staying on the sport of cycling, Landis was part of the US Postal Service team that projected Lance Armstrong to seven consecutive le Tour titles despite repeated rumours about Armstrong's illegal use of Erythropoietin (EPO) used in conjunction with pharmaceutical masking substances to avoid detection.
So far, so racist, which is the standard US template (we hope that our readers spotted the accuracy of our analysis of Obama Hussein Barack's 15% opinion poll lead in New Hampshire evaporating into a 2% defeat via a reactive racist vote following Iowa). A philosopher friend of mine, who really should know better, stated to me the other day that America is not a racist society due to their openness to immigration. Nonsense, again. American business welcomes immigrants into the country as cheap and/or illegal labour - the wall being built along the US border with Mexico suggests that this strategy is not publicly popular in the hyper-state. A few fortunate non-white immigrants do indeed reach the strata of the American middle class but the vast majority remain outside the system, are ghettoised or are despatched back from whence they came.
Women's tennis is, apparently, the other key area of concern in the world of sporting corruption. Larry Scott, the Women's Tennis Association chief executive (why a man?), said some players claimed they had been asked to throw matches. Scott said: "One has to assume that people running organised crime would be involved in trying to gain an advantage by corrupting the competition". After making subtle allusions regarding the input of Russian mafia money, Scott continued: "... but we have no proof".
So, we are expected to rest easy in the comforting illusion that Black North American athletes and (possibly) the Russian mafia are the core protagonists in global sporting criminality. Do we now accept that only Black runners take EPO/ Nandrolone or Amphetamine-based stimulants? This must be news to over 50% of the Champions League Second Phase Qualifiers and over 50% of the Premiership football teams who utilise Performance Enhancing Substances (PESs) without fear of prosecution! And we are delighted to hear that betting market corruption is the fault of those damn Ruskies, despite the lack of evidence, which is most certainly news to our Trading Team as we would be able to prove in a court of law the involvement of bookmakers from Britain, the Far East, Israel and Gibraltar (as well as Russia) in the corruption of global football as well as South Asian bookies in the criminalisation of international cricket. Interestingly, over a decade ago, a former broker of mine used to trade heavily on inside information on corrupted Men's tennis matches - presumably, as the source of the machinations were in US client state, Israel, this sort of corruption does not count!
All solo sports are targeted by bookmakers due to the ease of buying a suitable outcome. There are no issues with other team members or match officials as such encounters are heavily governed by the performances of the two participants. Darts, snooker, pool, golf and tennis all suffer a loss of collective integrity based on this bookmaker-induced criminality. Visually, the corruption is difficult to spot as top snooker players, for example, are able to deliberately miss a pot without it being obvious. The underperformance only becomes observable when one assesses the betting patterns - it is not by chance that virtually every snooker and darts player is tattooed from head to foot in Ladbrokes, Victor Chandler or Paddy Power logos!
The arbitrary selection of Women's tennis and Black athletes appears even more nuanced when one focuses on the impact of the corruption. Corrupt athletes win a few medals while some insiders are able to profit to some extent from a few tennis matches featuring coerced, and frightened, players. Compare and contrast with a certain Premiership manager whose average betting level was over £30,000 on EVERY Premiership match with just ONE bookmaker, a situation that the High Court decided was not in the public interest to pursue. Or, what about the behaviour of some of the dirty dozen Premiership referees who tilt their lack of professionalism to the the needs of certain betting markets? Or, what about issues relating to the global liquidity of the football betting markets where most major Premiership games feature £500 million - £1 billion betting markets? What about the Quest whitewash or the Woolmer murder whitewash? Indeed, the only instance of anybody involved in English football actually suffering for links to corruption in recent times is poor Mike Newell. Of course, Newell's "crime" was whistleblowing which is, apparently, of far more pernicious concern with respect to the integrity of English football. So, Newell was sacked and is experiencing life on the dole while his former club, Luton Town are on the verge of extinction! That will act as a warning to future whistleblowers, methinks...
Which brings us back to the shareholder capitalist structure: capital > incentives > innovation > corruption. Firstly, we'll look at PESs and then betting market realities to expose the invalidity of the shareholder capitalist model with respect to all sports.
The possibility of kudos, medals, financial gains and fame drives many individuals and teams to stretch legality in order to achieve. This is personally risky due to the lack of knowledge of the long term effects of many PESs and also it is a corruption of the particular sport. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is a complete waste of time as only the peripheral are fingered while the outfits linked to pharmaceutical companies are able to cheat without fear of detection - think back to Bayer Leverkusen's astonishing Champions League Final season which had absolutely nothing to do with the parent company's medical input. Really! If WADA wished to control doping, it is easily possible. No such effort will be made while it is the First World that is benefiting from such corruption.
With regard to betting markets, the situation is entirely one of incentives. A typical horse race has prize money of £4,000 and yet the betting market will be liquid to many millions of pounds. Which money will dominate the race outcome? An international centre forward is approaching the end of his career and fancies another helicopter while his team need to gain points to avoid the relegation zone, as he pulls back his leg to shoot (wide, obviously), it will be the whirr of the rotor blades that the man is thinking about rather than the fans on the terraces. Or, a Premiership referee has been coerced into undertaking the betting strategy of a leading British bookmaker with a little cash thrown in as an additional inducement. When this official is deciding the merits of a particular penalty decision, the rules of the game will be the very last item to cross his mind.
Betting markets corrupt all sports. Full stop. The lack of regulation allows huge fortunes to be amassed from the financial inputs of those oblivious to this global corruption. "You pays your money and takes your choice" has been warped to "you pays your money directly to the mafia".
Of course, in a system that treats free markets as an ideology, this situation is par for the course. Free markets gravitate towards inappropriate structures of corruption like insider trading, cornering of markets, monopolies, cartels etc. There is no societal attempt to prevent this corruption - as we have mentioned before, insider trading in Britain's financial markets was banned 28 years ago (prior to this date, it was regarded as a perk of the job!?) and we still await the first prosecution!
People suffering from Psychopathic Personality Disorders (PPDs) are at the top of this criminal system. There are arguments and counter-arguments about whether PPDs is an issue of nature or nurture but, either way, the psychopathic individuals are genetically and/or societally blameless for the onset of their condition. The choices that they make in later life are another matter entirely however...
Currently, the psychopaths make the rules and the rest of us are expected to dance to their tune. Surely, a more preferable narrative would be for people to run their own lives while the psychopaths dance the night away in some location where they are unable to blight the world through their criminal endeavours.
Let's call it the Napoleon-St-Helena strategy!
And, a suitable location? We would suggest Darfur (with a wall built around it, of course) and with the Sudanese refugees taking their rightful place in the safety of the New First World.

© Football Is Fixed/Dietrological