Staying on side: Education and prevention of match-fixing
Filed under - Sport
What’s at stake?
Sport has the power to help teach some of life’s most important lessons about the value of honesty and fair play, which is why Transparency International sees corruption in sport as an important issue. In Staying on Side, Transparency International’s first project specifically relating to corruption and sport, we are focussing on match-fixing in football because it is a clear manifestation of corruption and can lead to other illegal activities, such as money laundering. Because of football’s global popularity and the fact that the online betting market is now worth $700 billion annually, match-fixing has attracted the attention of criminals and organised crime.
What we’re doing about it
To fix a football match you need people inside of sport – an official or a player – to accept a bribe or be subject to intimidation. To address this problem, Transparency International is collaborating with sports organisations to develop education and prevention programmes that provide practical advice to everybody involved in football and raise awareness about the risks that match-fixing presents to the livelihoods and safety of those involved and the reputation of the ‘beautiful game’. This is the area where we can make a difference with our global expertise in fighting corruption in both the public and private sectors.
We understand that match-fixing is a complex problem that requires different solutions, from adequate legal frameworks and law enforcement to public awareness and engagement of football supporters. Our role is not to investigate the criminals who try to fix the matches – that is the domain of law enforcement authorities – but we can help those inside sport who are vulnerable to approaches from match-fixers to resist.
The project is a joint effort between Transparency International, the Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) and the German Football League (DFL). It aims at facilitating collaboration between football leagues and anti-corruption organisations in Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, the UK, as well as in France, Poland and Norway.
The project is co-funded by the European Commission and it runs from January 2013 to June 2014. It is part of a Europe-wide initiative of the European Commission to explore the use of education in the prevention of match-fixing.
Our work in this area was started by Transparency International Deutschland, which is supporting the project “Together Against Match-fixing” of the German Football League (DFL) and the German Football Association (DBF) together with the German Health Agency (BZgA) and the Professional Football Players Union (VdV). Building on this experience in Germany, the project aims at piloting similar programmes in Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, the UK, France, Poland and Norway. Each chapter will work in its national context, which means it will discuss what kinds of education programmes and which target audiences the league it is collaborating with believes will be the most successful. The activities will range from research and fact-finding on preventing match-fixing in each country, hosting workshops with different target groups (players, coaches, sport officials) to events that showcase and raise awareness of a particular aspect of match-fixing and how to prevent it.
Transparency International hosted the project kick-off meeting in Berlin in March 2013, bringing together experts in the fight against match-fixing as well as representatives from the football leagues and TI national chapters. The two-day workshop showcased approaches to education and prevention from Germany, Italy and Austria, the experiences of UEFA (Europe’s football governing body) and law enforcement agencies. It also included a presentation from a psychologist about gambling addiction, a phenomenon that can also lead to risks associated with match-fixing. The German model for whistleblowing and reporting of suspicions about a match being fixed and other irregularities in football through an independent ombudsman was also presented.
Timeline and results
- March 2013: Project kick-off meeting. See the full report here
- April 2013: National “Train the Trainer” workshop for the heads of German youth academies held in Cologne (Germany) by DFL and DFB with the support of Transparency International Deutschland
- May 2013: Project poster presented at the exhibition of the 5th International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS V) held in Berlin
- April 2013 - June 2014: trainings, workshops, media events in Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Portugal, Italy, UK, France, Poland and Norway
- September 2013: Communications and media workshop in Berlin
- June 2014: summary of the results of the project
Emilija Taseva, Programme Coordinator
Deborah Unger, Communications and media