Match of the Day is the latest programme to find itself under
scrutiny after a bookmaker closed betting on a competition on the BBC's
flagship football show after noticing some suspicious punting.
Goal of the Season - in which viewers trying to
guess which one of the 10 best goals of the season a panel of Match of the Day
presenters will judge the finest - is one of the most popular elements of the
show. The winner receives a pair of tickets to a Premiership game.
Blue Square decided to suspend betting on Tuesday after £10,000 was put
on Emmanuel Adebayor's goal against Spurs at White Hart Lane over the course of
just four hours.
would normally expect to take around £5,000 in a week for a "novelty" bet
such as the Goal of the Season. Its suspicions were further aroused when it
found that a host of internet accounts had been opened for the purpose of
betting on the competition. The Arsenal striker's goal had been 9-2 third
favourite to win, but odds plummeted to 1-5 after 400 bets were placed on him
The BBC said it was taking the concerns very seriously. "We
are talking to Blue Square and if there's enough evidence we will investigate,"
said a spokeswoman.
A Blue Square spokesman said: "We're not saying any
of the Match of the Day team are responsible, but the market seems to suggest
that the goal of the season result has been leaked somewhere."
the number of bets placed on Adebayor was comparable to the amount taken on the
Champions League final.
"It was crazy. Even when we cut his odds to
1-5, people were still betting on him. In our experience, punters only bet like
that when they know the result," he told the Evening Standard.