Competition Manipulation

What is competition manipulation ?

According to the legal definition, competition manipulation or match-fixing is “an intentional arrangement, act or omission aimed at an improper alteration of the result or the course of a sports competition in order to remove all or part of the unpredictable nature of the sports competition with a view to obtaining an undue benefit for oneself or for others.”(Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, 2014).

Match fixing is when the result of a tournament or competition is partially or completely decided in advance and the match is played to ensure the pre-determined outcome. This is against the rules of the game and often the law. The most common reason for match-fixing is to obtain a payoff from gamblers, but teams may also intentionally perform poorly to gain a future advantage, such as a better draft pick or, on paper, a less eminent opponent in a play-off.

Competition manipulation occurs when a participant in a sports competition (for example an athlete, a coach, a judge or referee, etc.) knowingly underperforms or deliberately makes bad or wrong decisions affecting the result or course of a competition, in order to obtain an undue benefit (usually a sporting or financial benefit).

What is Sports betting ?

Sports betting has existed since ancient times. If properly regulated it is not a problem. Indeed, a well-regulated and controlled sports betting market further engages sports fans and channels interest and enthusiasm towards the sport. Several sports betting entities have financially sponsored sport at all levels and provided support to key social causes. However, if not properly regulated, sports betting can pose a risk of competition manipulation. Prevention of such manipulation is therefore critical. This is the core mission of the Olympic Movement Unit on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions.

Why is Sports betting a risk to fair competition?

Sports betting carries several risks. Betting on one’s own sport, or on any sport during a multi-sport event such as the Olympic Games, can lead to a conflict of interest, as athletes, their entourage members or sports officials could take advantage of their inside knowledge of the competition. Similarly, athletes who bet on their sport might be tempted to fully or partly manipulate their competition in order to achieve financial gain. Athletes may also be pressured into not doing their best by entourage members, who might have directly or indirectly bet on the competition and thus be looking for a specific result. Of even more concern is that athletes or their entourage could become targets for criminals looking for a way to launder money.

Rules to remember

Don’t fix the competition

Don’t manipulate the Aquatics competition or any aspect of it, including spot-fixing and intentional underperformance. Reject all the offers to fix even if a coach, team member or doctor asks you to do so. You must always do your best.

Don’t bet on Aquatics

You are not allowed to bet on Aquatics or assist others to place a bet. Betting on all aspects of Aquatics competitions of any level is prohibited. If you participate in the Olympic Games, betting on all Olympic competitions is forbidden.

Don’t disclose inside information

Don’t share inside information with any external parties, including relatives and friends outside your team. You never know how someone can use this information for betting purposes.


If you are asked to manipulate or think that someone is involved in match-fixing, immediately report any suspicions or knowledge to the Aquatics Reporting section below to learn how to leave a confidential report.

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