Betting and… Is the first rigged game in history?

Betting and… Is the first rigged game in history?
Template Manchester United in 1915. Marked with a red circle the players allegedly involved in match-fixing and were banned for life (EMPICS)

Last update December 9, 2019 by Javier Argudo

A professional football since 1885, as was the case of English, and in a country in itself fond bet, it is not surprising that the first known case of corruption and Buying games linked to Betting house there has been right there, in the cradle of football sport.

In 1915 football was seething. The world of gambling had jumped on him just as they had done before on horse races or boxing. Small illegal bets were common in pubs, but they were already legal Betting house where, really, They are moving large amounts of money. There were no British city or town that did not have a number to be played a few shillings betting on various sports and games.

We will not suspend the league for a war”

In the year 1915, although the First World War, He had already broken out since the previous, the English Football Association, He decided to continue with competitions. "We will not suspend the league for a war", said federation president, getting his government, also, that professional footballers could not be called up until the league competition 1914-15 finalize. A controversial decision was harshly criticized by the British society at the time.

In any case, the 3 April last league game was played. A Liverpool in the middle of the table, and not playing anything, He went to the nearby Manchester United to face the decline was played in an indirect duel with Chelsea London to accompany the Tottenham Hotspur a la First Division, the second tier of English professional football.

LIVERPOOL clear favorite betting

Bookies gave clear favorite to Liverpool, equipment, also, it was assumed would come to draw blood from their neighbors and bitter rivals Manchester and. But no such thing happened. The Manchester United He won by 2 a 0, a result that was paid in British betting houses 7 a 1.

The party had been scandalous, According to chronicles of the time, some players Liverpool They had shown an indolent attitude, as if the party was not with them and the opponent was not the United. He had given, also, a strange situation in the meeting. The referee awarded a penalty for visitors, which it was released by grotesquely Jackie Sheldon, who prevented his usual partner launches maximum penalties, O’Connell, designated by the coach to PROCEED, throw it.

Own investigations English Football Association and daily The Guardian, they came to find the germ of the strange behavior of players from both teams. Seven of them, They had made a significant bet on a house of a village between Liverpool Y Manchester. Responsible identified the players and the aggravating West of bets had been made in his hometown, Hucknall, where they had not gone, precisely, unnoticed.

They were involved Sandy Turnbull, Arthur Whalley and striker Enoch West, by Manchester United, Y Tom Fairfoul, Tom Miller, Bob Purcel y Jackie Sheldom, the suspect penalty taker, by the "reds". journaling The Guardian dedicated important spaces for weeks biggest sporting scandal been to date. The recognition by the bookie and suspicious attitudes of players like West, top scorer in the English league Nottingham Forest few years earlier, renouncing advance some glaring chances or failing clear shots, They involved the rest.


The English Football Association has suspended seven players in perpetuity. Nevertheless, He gave the result valid and Chelsea down to the First Division (decline that would not be effective to increase 20 a 22 teams in the Premiership at the end of the war). After the war and resume the league competition, Five of those affected were amnestied by recognizing their trap and publicly apologize and other, joined the army, He died in France during the war, Turnbull. Not so with Enoch West, He followed by denying its connection in the plot and claiming innocent. He claimed that the balls thrown off bounds had no other object than to gain time, clear and maintain the win which left them in the top flight.

He admitted having been with the players taking a few pints, but it was unrelated to any match-fixing. He did not ask for forgiveness and punishment remained until 1945 a court in Manchester gave the reason, declaring him innocent of match-fixing and stressing that there had been no conclusive evidence for conviction sports. The simple fact that certain players did not prove that he had participated in the plot and English Football Association He was sentenced to readmit him and clean his name publicly. In November 1945 She received the letter which expunged the punishment of 30 years he had suffered (the longest of British football) and he is informing him that he was free to handle record for any English team without restriction. evidently, such thing did not happen, West It was just over three months sixtieth birthday.

Frichu Yustas

I enjoy my two passions, football and music. Author of several books: "Atlas Music" (2007) along with other authors; "The rocks of Real Sporting de Gijón. History of a hobby" (2018) Rebeca Diaz with; "Football stories yesterday" (2019); "History of the CP Gijón Solimar" (2020). You can follow me on Twitter @fritzyustas

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