Top class football ceased to be all about the beautiful game a long time ago. Clubs are businesses first and foremost, even more so now with the new financial regulations reigning in spending by billionaires, (in theory at least), and so turning a profit has to be the first point of order. And so, gaining money from sponsorship has never been more important. However, the core value of the teams involved has to be competitive sportsmanship orientated around winning games and providing entertainment. Can these run parallel with making money, especially if one of the main contributors to a team is a betting agency with a vested interest in how the results pan out?
Actually, that was a touch naive. There are now bets available for every aspect of the game, rather than just the result. Amounts of corners, free kicks, who to score next, who to concede next. All of which earn money, or lose it, for said betting companies. Is it truly possible to believe that a company who has invested millions, would not at least be tempted to look at patterns, and then think, "We could make a large chunk of our investment back if X beats our sponsored Y by Z amount of goals".
Given the report by Fifa's ethics chairman Hans-Joachim Eckert claiming Nicolas Leoz (Fifa's honorary president) had received bribes, and the state of various other sports regarding cheating, be it bribes, drugs, or in the case of rugby not that long ago, smuggling blood capsules onto the pitch to fake injury, surely using betting companies as sponsors has to be tempting fate when the rewards for foul play can swing the odds so dramatically in their favour and the business they're in isn't winning, but making money?