Match fixing is undoubtedly one of the major threat to sport and Europe is currently one of the most affected continents by this problem. That is the reason why the Federation of European players and athletes, EU Athletes, committed itself to tackle the issue in setting up every year, on April 15, a “EU Sport Integrity Day”. This athlete trade union, which represents no less than 35 national federations and some 25.000 individual athletes, works on a daily basis with sportsmen of all ages to educate them to resist to any match-fixing temptation. This special event is, therefore, the occasion to raise public and stakeholders awareness on the issue but also to exchange good practices and reinforce key education messages about sports betting integrity.
Sport and Citizenship has been committed to fight for the integrity of sport since its very creation. Aside from the various articles and conferences on the issue, the Think Tank was a major partner of the IRIS programme, a EU co-funded project, dedicated to combating corruption in sport. This programme notably focused on the national and international networks needed to efficiently tackle the problem. Cooperation at a global level seems indeed the bottom-line. The fight against match fixing is now the fight against globalised organised crime helped by the Internet and the economic crises. These fraudulent practices increased so rapidly and widely in the last years that the tools to prevent them could not be implemented on time. In France, for example, 80% of the bets are placed on competition abroad and 91% on 8 different sports. This shows the need for the harmonisation of the competent authorities and the creation of a global monitoring system able to detect irregular betting patterns anywhere, at any moment, in the world.
The involvement of the major sports organisations such as the UEFA, the IOC or the FIFA is essential to this international approach. Although these ones already put in place some positive tools to prevent or detect manipulation (such as resolutions, ethic charters, integrity agents, the IBIS system or the FIFA Early Warning System), closer collaboration with public authorities is mandatory to succeed.
The battle against match fixing cannot be fully achieved without cooperation with the first concerned, the athletes themselves. Indeed, they are the ones who suffer the most from these manipulative practices. The temptation of easy money can easily break a career and young athletes are considered as easy targets. That is why prevention and education are crucial parts of the fight. Enabling athletes to easily and anonymously report information (through phone apps, ombudsmen or red lines for examples) is therefore absolutely necessary to protect them and the integrity of their sport.
Let’s hope the EU Sport Integrity Day will grow bigger in the next years and have a concrete positive impact on the world of sport, whose magic has to be preserved.
Some Sport and Citizenship ‘s works on match-fixing :
- Sport and Corruption: conclusions of the IRIS program http://fr.calameo.com/read/00076158588312862203a
- Sport Intergroup Conference on match fixing: “When the EP tackles match fixing” https://sportetcitoyennete.blogactiv.eu/2016/04/12/when-the-ep-tackles-match-fixing/
- « Studies on betting-related match-fixing now available » https://sportetcitoyennete.blogactiv.eu/2014/09/24/studies-on-betting-related-match-fixing-now-available/
- ” The fight against corruption in sport is a major European stake!” http://sportetcitoyennete.com/page.php?lang=en&ID=148&PHPSESSID=2fvav46ojj5h53tat8mslgmvs1
- “Match fixing and fraud in sport: putting the pieces together” http://sportetcitoyennete.com/en/ressourceseuropeen/pdf/parliament/bozkurt_match_fixing_2012.pdf
- Sport Corner on “Match fixing and governance” http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3ri69u
- « The fight against corruption in sport is a major European issue » https://www.euractiv.com/section/sports/opinion/the-fight-against-corruption-in-sport-is-a-major-european-issue/
- “L’éducation doit permettre de lutter efficacement contre la manipulation des résultats sportifs ” http://www.rtbf.be/sport/autres/detail_l-education-doit-permettre-de-lutter-efficacement-contre-la-manipulation-des-resultats-sportifs?id=8191423