An infected player can risk the entire team as well as opposing team to get eliminated from the European Handball Championships. Can match-fixing be on the rise?
COVID-19 has affected sporting events to a great measure and the women's European Handball Championships in Denmark and Norway are no different. The championships have tightened the belt to curb the spread of the pandemic.
This weekend, Norwegian TV2 revealed that if a single test is positive (players must be tested every three days), the entire team will be excluded from the European Championships. The further restrictions require the last team to be in contact with the team who tested positive to also be sent home
Same rules must apply
This currently applies to the teams and matches in Norway, where two of four group matches are decided as well as semi-finals and finals. It is the Norwegian Public Health Agency's rules that apply and not the European Handball Federation.
According to the head of the Danish Handball Association, Per Bertelsen, one cannot have different European Championship regulations in Denmark and Norway.
Opens up for trouble
This can create a lot of problems other than just that teams being disqualified due to other reasons than sporting, this can open up for sabotage.
The handball association are looking at all the ways this can be taken into advantage. f a team wants to get rid of a tough opponent, one can simply bribe a player in the team and use COVID-19 as an excuse to do so, this leads to the team getting eliminated. It does not even have to be a player in the team, just someone who can get close enough to the team to infect.
How can you set odds for who will win the European Handball Championship if a team, without warning, can get eliminated?
Risk of match-fixing in sportbetting
In a interview in The Strait Times, Interpol's Match-Fixing Task Force (MTF) said it has seen a "marked increase" in online betting related to match-fixing schemes during the COVID-19 lockdown period. The restrictions during the Handball Championship just opens up opportunities for match-fixing, one that would be hard to prove since it's emerging from the pandemic and not from a player ”throwing their game”.
Hopefully the restrictions will change slightly before the championship starts to avoid these risks.
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