Competition manipulation

Match-fixing, prohibited betting, and other forms of competition manipulation take away from the fairness and excitement of sport.

Competition manipulation is when someone deliberately underperforms or misuses information to control:

  • the outcome of an event, for example, fixing the final score or deliberately losing points during a game, or

  • the outcome of something within the event, for example, deliberately causing a yellow card or a stoppage of play.

It can be for personal, sporting or financial gain, and has a strong link to gambling.

It cuts at the heart of sport: following the rules and fair play. It is not fair to you, your teammates, your supporters, or your sport.

All sports are vulnerable to competition manipulation. It can happen at local matches and tournaments, not just in high performance and professional sports. Anybody who participates — players, coaches, officials, and administrators — needs to be aware of the risks and how they can help prevent unfair play.

Types of competition manipulation


Match-fixing is dishonest activity that deliberately controls or tries to control the result of a sporting event. Manipulating the result of a sports match, or an event within the match, to influence betting is against the law if you obtain a benefit or cause a loss.

Read section 240A of the Crimes Act 1961

What isn’t match-fixing

In some cases, behaviour that looks like match-fixing may be legitimate for a tactical or sporting advantage. For example:

  • a coach fields a weaker team to rest their stronger players for a game later in the pool

  • collaborating with other competitors for tactical reasons, such as in cycling.

These are okay if they don’t break other rules in the sport.


Spot-fixing is a type of match-fixing. Rather than fixing the end result, spot-fixing aims at deliberately making something happen during a game or event, such as the number of penalties, goals, or stoppages. Like other match-fixing, spot-fixing for betting is against the law if you get a benefit or cause a loss.


Tanking is deliberately losing or underperforming to gain an undue sporting advantage. This might include, for example, when athletes lose an event on purpose to compete against easier opponents in the latter phases of a competition.

Betting, gambling and competition manipulation

The most common reason that competition manipulation happens is to help people win money through sports betting. And it has serious implications for sport at all levels.

By knowingly controlling the results, gamblers are more likely to win high returns. It generally involves contact between gamblers, athletes, team officials, or referees.

It is important to understand that gambling on your sport may be against your sport’s rules - whether that is done lawfully in Aotearoa New Zealand (eg, the TAB), or through online companies that offer odds on New Zealand sporting events.

Avoid betting on your own sport

Avoid betting on your own sport or a multi-sport event you are competing in — or asking someone else to — because:

  • it can create a conflict of interest and people might think you are trying to manipulate the result (even if you aren’t)

  • it might be against the law or the rules of your sport

  • you might be pressured by others who have bet on your sport

  • you can be vulnerable to criminals who want to exploit you.

Misuse of inside information

Sometimes your position, such as being an athlete, team official or referee can give you access to exclusive information not available to others. For example, information about tactics or injuries. This is called inside information.

Inside information can be used by people or organisations for competition manipulation or to gain a betting advantage.

Misuse of inside information includes:

  • using it for betting or competition manipulation

  • passing on inside information if you know or should know it may be used for betting, competition manipulation, or another corrupt purpose

  • giving or receiving a benefit for passing on inside information (such as gifts, money or favours) whether or not the information is actually provided.

Examples of competition manipulation you might see

  • Deliberately conceding points, goals, or own goals in a football match.

  • Deliberately making a mistake at a specific time during a netball game.

  • Athletes deliberately underperforming to get a better draw in the next round

  • A team withdrawing from a match for no genuine reason.

  • Offering a sports official a bribe to get them to influence the results of a match.

  • A sports official deliberately not following the rules of a sport.

  • Interfering with play, equipment or playing conditions to influence results.

  • Sharing information about an athlete’s injury or chances of selection that are not publicly known.

  • Offering a referee gifts and appointing them to referee a premier game in exchange for helping to match-fix the game.

Why it’s harmful

Competition manipulation harms everyone involved. It undermines the integrity and fairness of competition by removing or reducing the element of chance in a sporting event. The unpredictable nature of sport is part of what makes sport fun and exciting for participants and fans. Removing it undermines everyone’s enjoyment and trust in sport.

Competition manipulation also puts you at risk of other harmful behaviour. You may be intimidated or coerced to fix an event or provide inside information. For example, you may be:

  • directly or indirectly groomed through receiving gifts, money or favours

  • intimidated or threatened, including with violence

  • blackmailed or exploited

  • trapped into an ongoing relationship with the ‘fixer’ to avoid being exposed for doing something wrong.

Competition manipulation often has links to other serious criminal behaviour such as corruption, money laundering and organised crime.

Competition manipulation in New Zealand also presents a significant threat to our international reputation and the integrity, value, and growth of sport.

Preventing and avoiding competition manipulation

Involvement in match-fixing and competition manipulation can have serious consequences. You can face severe penalties, such as a lifetime ban from sport, or criminal prosecution.

But there are things you can do to avoid and prevent match-fixing and other forms of competition manipulation.

  • Know your sport’s rules and policies on match-fixing and betting. Check them regularly as they can change.

  • No matter how minor it seems at the time, don’t fix your game or event or ever help someone else do it.

  • Don’t bet on your competition or sport or ask someone else to on your behalf. In most cases, the rules of your sport prohibit you from betting on your competition.

  • Always try your best and compete fairly. Deliberately losing or playing poorly to influence betting – tanking – is competition manipulation.

  • Don’t share inside information. It can be used to give people an unfair betting advantage.

  • Don’t offer or take money, gifts or incentives that could be used to influence you to take part in competition manipulation.

  • Speak up:

    • if you come across someone doing something you think could be competition manipulation, contact your club or organisation

    • if you are unsure who the right person to talk to is, approach the head of your club or organisation, they should tell you what process to follow

    • contact us for information and support, or to report your concerns.

What your club or organisation can do

  • Adopt and implement policies to prevent and address competition manipulation.

  • Ban players and referees from betting on matches or competitions your club is involved in.

  • Appoint someone in your club or organisation responsible for a policy and complaints process. The head of your club or organisation could take on the role of integrity officer.

  • Encourage integrity and honesty and a sense of fair play at your club. Include these qualities in your club or organisation’s code of conduct.

  • Provide education resources about match-fixing and gambling with members.

  • Support initiatives to reduce gambling harm as it can contribute to competition manipulation.

More information

We encourage you to tell us about an incident or make a complaint. Our service is free and independent.

Find out how to make a complaint or raise a concern