Understanding and Mitigating Fraud Risk in Professional Football

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Evidence of football fraud and how it can be addressed is fragmented in the literature, lacking a holistic view. This paper provides a holistic understanding of fraud in professional football through a comprehensive framework that encompasses (i) the typologies and methods of perpetrating fraud in football, (ii) the enablers of football fraud, and (iii) how to mitigate fraud risk in professional football. Additionally, it highlights literature gaps and suggests new directions for future research to open up academic debates on this significant topic. The findings show no evidence of external fraud reported in the literature. However, insider fraud, particularly corruption in all its forms, is well documented. There is minimal evidence of other insider fraud types, such as asset misappropriation and financial fraud, and even fewer studies discussing fraud against football players and fans. The analysis highlights various fraud risk factors in football, ranging from financial and sporting performance, competitive balance, and financial regulation issues to the lack of accountability, anti-fraud controls, governance mechanisms, and weak integrity culture in FIFA and football clubs. The paper summarizes various other motives and opportunities enabling football fraud and proposes a holistic framework for mitigating fraud risk in football.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDeviant Behavior
Early online date10 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this
article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.

Funding: This research received funding from the Open University, UK.


  • Fraud
  • Football
  • Anti-fraud controls
  • Governance
  • Accountability
  • Integrity


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