According to FIFA(Federation Internationale de Football Association), the international body governing football, 3.2 billion people watched FIFA 2014 world cup final held in Brazil. It has been noted that average television viewership among audiences aged between 18 and 49 years for national football league have dipped by 10.6 percent in the last four seasons as recorded by Neilson data. Older age groups are not passionate about football. Moreover, rampant corruption in the game has started tarnishing the image of the game. With episodes of the match- fixing people have started losing interest in the game. Thanks to the clandestine efforts put in by the illegal gamblers to destroy the game.
Football gambling is a big business which is net worth in billions. Gambling - A way of making easy money is legal in Nigeria, Belgium, Ireland, Hungary, Canada, Australia, France Italy, Germany, Gibraltar, Russia, Poland, Spain, New Zealand, Philippines, Panama, Singapore, Malta, Macau, Liechtenstein, Scandinavia, and Switzerland. Whereas in other countries gambling is prohibited by law and is a punishable offense.
There are countries in which it is unmonitored. There are countries which promote gambling in the form of lucky bumper lottery tickets but do not allow other forms of gambling. It is hard to define so as to establish what is illegal gambling as it varies from country to country. People bet online through websites like Bet365, Betfred, Betvictor, Coral Bet, Skybet or Betfair.com etc and divert money through fake third party registrations,
by renting account and fraudulent remittances through various payment gateways. It is a way for the bookie or a gambler to earn tax-free money. It has lead to huge losses in the form of tax to various governments. Usually, bookies pay out as they need to remain in business but sometimes they may cheat. And there is no way that a gambler can appeal to at least get his money back because for him bookie is the only contact who is a stranger with dubious identity.
In places where it is legalized, it may have a criminal association. Bookies develop an association with criminals who somehow develop connections with corrupt players, coach or other members of the team. The game is organized in such a way that the poor spectators have zero percent suspicion and the gamblers tend to lose all their earnings. It is seen with great concern that these legal and illegal syndicates of betting lure players into easy money so as to change the outcome of the event. Not only in cricket but also in football cases of match fixing has come up. According to euro police, they have recorded around 680 cases of match-fixing in football. Repeated instances lead to people losing interest in the game. As a result, it is instrumental in degrading the spirit of the game as well as the status of players and they know how to make bets for free. People get addicted to the habit of making easy money and they lose everything in a bid to make a fortune out of nothing. Now when football fans bet, winning or losing the game is not about patriotism or attachment to the team; it's just about money.
It is the need of the hour to protect the game in all aspects from grassroots to highly competitive events. No stone should be unturned to safeguard the dignity and integrity of the game. Gambling will corrode the game. The governing international body of football must take concrete steps to cease illegal gambling in football in all forms by punishing the culprits of the game with a capital punishment of not less than a lifetime ban and continuous and regular monitoring of the game in all forms with envoys detailed for the same or else legalize it.
Legislation of gambling activities will prevent players getting into the trap net of bookies. It will deter gamblers from damaging the spirit of the game. Lawful active gambling will lead to the rise in the viewership of the game among those who are into gambling. Enforcement department can keep a check on the criminalization of gambling activities. So un-criminalized lawful gambling can survive without sacrificing the ethos of the game. It will act as a double edged sword by preventing corruption in the game and by helping gamblers enjoy their part of the game.