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Anti-Match-Fixing: It’s a Lie-detector Test for SA Soccer Referees

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Description: As if sport needs more woo-woo…
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Mefiante
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« on: March 04, 2009, 20:14:51 PM »

In future, South African soccer referees will have to undergo a lie-detector (polygraph) test in an effort to curb match-fixing, at least for the more important matches.

Safa obviously hasn’t done its homework properly on this one.  The polygraph is not reliable and there are relatively easy ways of beating it.  That is why courts of law do not admit these tests into evidence.  So why does Safa?

'Luthon64
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AcinonyxScepticus
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2009, 09:35:19 AM »

There is still the possibility that a guilty party (believing the lie detector to be infallible) would give themselves away in another way (by refusing or by negotiating or whatever).

It reminds me of the story of John Napier (the inventor of the decimal point or ~comma) who, it is said, had a proud black cockerel that he had told his servants was psychic.  Napier didn't believe it was psychic but used the servants' belief to catch a guilty thief.  He told all the staff members to enter a darkened room and stroke the black cockerel.  By this, Napier said, the bird would identify the thief.  One at a time all of the servants went to stroke the bird.  Unbeknownst to them the bird was covered in soot so the guilty party was the one who approached the bird but was too afraid to stroke it.  When their hands were inspected the thief was found.

This little tidbit courtesy of my favourite panel show; QI.  A warning though, the link includes the Quite Interesting facts used during that episode and may spoil the show if you ever plan to watch the series in the future.
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Mefiante
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2009, 11:24:25 AM »

The basic issue is Safa’s credibility as the highest administrative soccer authority in the land.  If they use unreliable pseudoscience to make decisions, what message does that send?  Especially since it is likely that, sooner or later, some media outlet or other will point out the polygraph’s weaknesses, and its deterrence value will drop sharply.  Then Safa will have at least two eggs on its face: first, that of an ill-considered decision about what method to use, and second, that of actually using a dubious method.

There is still the possibility that a guilty party (believing the lie detector to be infallible) would give themselves away in another way (by refusing or by negotiating or whatever).
True enough, but such test-dodging manoeuvres themselves can at best be indicative, never conclusive, otherwise the rules of evidence will be violated.  In other words, the accuser might have somewhat firmer grounds for suspicion but is still shouldered with much the same burden of proof that they started with.  Anything less, for example accepting such indications as conclusive without other factual substantiation of guilt, can only subtract from Safa’s credibility.

There is also the issue of false negatives (i.e. liars not caught) and – especially worrying – false positives (i.e. honest people identified as liars), both of which occur frequently even with those who believe that the polygraph works.  This too can only harm Safa’s credibility in the long run.

Then, as uncomfortable as it might be, there is the further issue of the integrity or corruptibility of the administering polygraphists.  Who polygraphs the polygraphists?  Even a hint of malfeasance by such an official will further diminish Safa’s credibility, and this is, after all, South Africa.  We might even see a small trade boom of specialists who offer three-day “Beat the Polygraph” courses.

All in all, I can see very few benefits to this decision.

'Luthon64
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patchwork
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2009, 23:41:41 PM »

dont see how its going to help match fixing.

Having actually taken a polygraph i can avow to the absolute amount of bullshit one is fed leading up to test.
It goes all the way from "Im a professional" - (apparently it only takes a week or so to be qualified in these devices) to
"its garanteed and fool proof". A lot of hype and tactics to scare you into making mistakes, the kind of bullshit sales tactics that really piss me off.

My boss at the time was off her rocker and suspected everyone in the office was out to steal from her. They sprang the test on the office one moring, I took it and resigned the next day. I got to try out all the stuff you read about fooling these things, which to be honest was actually kind of fun. Oh it goes without saying that I wasnt the one she should have been worried about...sometimes life is almost enough to make one beleive in karma  Grin

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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2009, 11:24:00 AM »

I see that Joost also reportedly passed a lie detector test recently, although probably not on charges of match fixing.

http://www.citizen.co.za/index/article.aspx?pDesc=90860,1,22

Mintaka
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patchwork
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2009, 12:59:28 PM »

I havent been following the joost story to be honest.

so he passed a test thats notorious for giving the results the tester wants to see, wow.
theres easier ways to spot match fixing, especially by officials, just look at how many dodgy or out right wrong decicions they make.
The quality of the refs should improve that way.

This will not stop colusion between say players on the field (Hansie hoekom was jou neus so groot), or collusion between all 3 parties on the field.

A bad day as a ref however could seriously suck for you tho.
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