By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
FIFA has concluded an agreement with Sportradar Integrity Services (Sportradar) that will provide the world football governing body with a full range of monitoring, education and intelligence services to further strengthen the integrity of football around the world.
Under the terms of this agreement, Sportradar, the global leader in match manipulation detection and prevention, will use its award-winning Fraud Detection System to identify and analyse any suspicious betting behaviour or patterns across a number of international and domestic competitions around the world.
FIFA will work closely with its six continental confederations, comprising FIFA’s member associations, to ensure that any findings are provided to the appropriate organisations, and to support any relevant follow up action or disciplinary proceedings. The monitoring activities will cover various FIFA tournaments, including the FIFA World Cup and its qualifiers; the FIFA Confederations Cup; the Olympic Football Tournament and all of its youth competitions; as well as a wide range of national league and all confederation-run competitions.
In addition to monitoring and detecting services, FIFA will be able to call on Sportradar’s in-house intelligence and investigation experts.
Sportradar will also deliver a full range of fraud prevention services and provide a programme of education and workshops and e-learning solutions, as well as a bespoke ‘app’ to enable players, coaches and staff to understand the importance of protecting the integrity of football and the repercussions of fraudulent activities. The ‘app’ will allow them to confidentially and anonymously report any concerns.
FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, remarked on the new arrangements:
“Preserving the integrity of the game is paramount to FIFA. Given that match manipulation is still a serious concern for everyone who loves the game, FIFA will work with Sportradar, the global leader in match manipulation detection and prevention, to invigorate and enhance our integrity programme. FIFA is committed to tackling match manipulation and protecting the integrity of football for players and fans.”
In effect, FIFA has contracted out to Sportradar its own match-fixing detection division, including its ‘Early Warning System’, which has been in existence for ten years.
The financial terms of the agreement between FIFA and Sportradar have not been disclosed.
It may be added that Sportradar already has betting monitoring agreements with some other regional football bodies, including UEFA.
Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw is an International Sports Lawyer, Academic, Author and a Member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and may be contacted by e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’