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Joel González, Gold Medal in Sports and University

The Olympic and World Taekwondo Champion has finished his doctorate in Criminology at UCAM

Joel González Doctor UCAM
Joel González with his Doctoral Thesis

Joel González defended his Doctoral Thesis, titled “Sports betting can be a key indicator when detecting match-fixing”, at the Universidad Católica de Murcia, becoming the first Olympic and World champion to complete a PhD at the UCAM. The thesis, supervised by UCAM professor Dr. César Giner, is the result of five years in which Joel has gained research and professional experience in different environments such as LaLiga (Madrid), the UEFA headquarters (Nyon) or a bookmaker in Vienna, including his international stay in Mexico. “This project was born from the dream of combining my two passions, Sports and Criminology, and thanks to it I have gathered all the necessary information to understand how match-fixing works, to determine what the modus operandi is, how to detect it and how to prevent it” explains the newly appointed doctor.  


The University of Sports: UCAM-SOC 

Joel González, Olympic champion at the London 2012 Olympic Games and bronze medallist at Rio 2016, double world champion in 2009 and 2011, and European champion in 2010 and 2012, has now also achieved academic success. He has completed his doctorate degree at UCAM, internationally considered as “The University of Sports” for offering athletes dual training, making it easier for them to combine their studies with elite sport. This model, a UCAM hallmark since its foundation 25 years ago, has been particularly boosted since 2012, when UCAM presidents José Luis Mendoza and Alejandro Blanco signed the partnership with the Spanish Olympic Committee (SOC). 

Hundreds of elite athletes, not only from Spain, are training at UCAM, the world's university with the most Olympians and Paralympians at the Tokyo Games, which offers them financial support and adaptation options for their studies, with personal tutors who guide them throughout their careers. In the last few days alone, the beach volleyball player Elsa Baquerizo (Spanish champion, triple medallist in the European Championships and 9th in the last three Olympic Games) has graduated in Early Childhood Education, the gymnast Artemi Gavezou (silver medallist in Rio 2016 and winner of numerous medals in World and European Championships) in Business Management, and the wheelchair basketball player Beatriz Zudaire (Spanish champion, bronze medallist in Eurobasket 2021 and diploma in the Tokyo Games) in Psychology. 

Thanks to this model, the racewalker Juanma Molina, World and European medallist, had already completed his doctorate in Sport Sciences at UCAM, and now Joel González has also reached the peak of higher education. 


Conclusions of the Thesis 

Joel González highlights from his research that “Sports betting is a very important tool for the detection of match-fixing and, as we have been able to verify, tangible proof that something is going on”. The most obvious example is when the unexpected and massive increase of bets of considerable amounts are detected in a match of modest categories through online gambling. The solution proposed to prevent these crimes lies, according to the new UCAM doctor, in attacking the problem at the root: “We must start introducing the values of sport in schools and football clubs, without forgetting the role of the family, with a special focus on the importance of fair play and discipline.