Fixed matches in Portugal – myths, perceptions and attitudes: a study focusing on referees and fans

  • Marcelo Moriconi Bezerra
  • Rita Teixeira-Diniz


The paper presents data about opinions and perception of Portuguese football referees and supporters about manipulation of results, ones of the main problems of football worldwide. Analysts often link the problem with organized crime and sporting betting. In Portugal, however, recent scandals indicate that manipulation would be mostly connected with sporting interest, influence peddling and bribing from managers and officials. In the public opinion, referees appear as the most suspicious and denounced group. Through surveys of members of the Portuguese Football Referees Association (APAF) and supporters, the paper empirically confirms some assumptions of the official match-fixing narrative, like the existence of offers of prostitutes to referees. Nevertheless, it shows a wider perspective of the phenomenon that goes beyond the betting sphere and organized crime. In depth interviews to key informants were carried out to confirm and extend the results.