The suspension of football, basketball, tennis, boxing and other tournaments due to the COVID-19 pandemic has not only caused damage to clubs but also related businesses.
Among them is the betting business, which is considered legal in many countries. According to BBC, betting revenue in East Africa decreased by 99%.
In response, bookmakers have to come up with different solutions to survive. In Russia, some bookmakers offer players to bet on non-sporting events, such as when a vaccine is available. In difficult circumstances, some bookmakers choose to “take risks” by giving players to bet on rare matches still playing, even if it is just kick practice.
This is the story that happens in Sweden, where practice matches between amateur teams are still allowed, but on the field there is no audience. Specifically, at the beginning of the week, the club playing in Swedish 7th Division Skabersjo IF had a training match with Vastra Ingelstad IS.
Responding to the Associated Press news agency, Skabersjo Club president Mattias Andersson said before the match, many people from Hungary, Denmark, England and Asian countries contacted the team to ask for information.
After the match, Mattias thought that these people could belong to betting communities. Mattias also said that the whole team had to receive many life-threatening threats because of suspected half-life. “We receive a lot of threats, including being threatened with death. As an amateur team, normally no one is allowed to bet our matches. The threats are scary,” said Mattias.
It is not known which bookmakers are behind it, but a Swedish newspaper insisted it could only be small-scale bookmakers struggling to survive the season. It could also be places of illegal betting business. Currently, the Swedish Football Federation (SvFF) has advised teams that are still playing during the season to ignore suspicious messages.
In addition, the practice match between amateur teams Eskilstuna FC and Nashulta GoIF was postponed at SvFF’s request after they received messages similar to the Skabersjo Club.