Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The Importance Of Information

"Hence that general is skilful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend”

The Art of War, Sun Tzu

There's a lot of fallout from a Blue Square Premier Conference match on Saturday, which saw Rushden & Diamonds beat Weymouth 9-0. A club takeover had failed and all the players were out of contract come Monday morning. A (now very good) friend alerted me to this on Friday and I managed to scrape a fair sum at 6/5 on Rushden as the price was tumbling.

The Times and Mail are reporting how bookies were caned as fans lumped on the opposing team.

When fans of cash-strapped Weymouth Football Club heard the first team was going on strike, they decided to act - by heading down to the bookies.
Supporters quickly realised the club would be forced to field their youth squad in the Blue Square Premiership match against Rushden and Diamonds.
There was a killing to be made and, nine goals later (for Rushden), bemused bookmakers found themselves paying out more than £1million to happy Weymouth fans.

Senior squad members at the club have not been paid all season and they refused to play on Saturday after medical insurance for the match had lapsed.

Online betting exchanges and high street betting shops were inundated with people trying to place bets on a Rushden win, with many being forced to cut odds and then suspend betting entirely.

Weymouth's youth side went on to lose the match 9-0.
More than £680,000 was put on a Rushden victory on the Betfair exchange alone.

The odds on a Rushden win were slashed from an early 15/8 to 5/4 on the night before the game, and they were down to 4/6 before kick off.

Happy Days!

The Guardian and the Independent have a different take on it though.

The Football Association is to question officials at Weymouth and Rushden & Diamonds after suspicious betting on the weekend match between the two clubs.

Weymouth lost 9-0 after their senior players refused to turn out for the Blue Square Premier match because of a dispute over pay.

News of the dispute had spread before the game and bookies took 10 times more than usual in bets on the game – all for a Rushden & Diamonds win. An FA spokesman said: "We are aware of the concerns and we are investigating unusual betting patterns."

The bookies paid out around £1m but Totesport suspended betting on Saturday morning after "smelling a rat".

Totesport spokesman George Primarolo said: "People have got wind of the team news before the bookies have. This sort of thing happens in the lower leagues from time to time."

What's to investigate? The bookies got caught with their pants down. The information was in the public domain on Weymouth's web-site for two days, it's just that their compilers hadn't spotted it. To their credit, the bookies aren't making a fuss, so why are the FA?

Perhaps they have been taken in by the earlier articles stating that it was merely Weymouth fans taking advantage. It wasn't. If they had as much as £680,000 as was cleaned out at Betfair, never mind the sums deposited elsewhere, their club wouldn't be in the mess that caused Saturday's bonanza in the first place.

Information is King. (I'm sure this could also apply in financial circles as well, by the way).


banned said...

Insider trading ? Something for the FSA to really get their teeth into.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Is it that though? If you were to take information in the public domain and other traders weren't as resourceful, you'd have done nothing wrong.

It doesn't always work of course. The team still has to win, no matter how much value is obtained on the price. It's good when the team is 4-0 up at half time though. :-)

Anonymous said...

I want to know why the hell Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling weren't first in the queue at Ladbroke's? The government reckons that it's fine to keep tabs on anyone they want and yet they still can't spot a sure thing when they see it..