Staying on side: Education and prevention of match-fixing

Filed under - Sport

article image

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

Diagram about sports

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.

Who’s involved

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 approach

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.

Image of German ombudsman at project kick-off meeting

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


Contact us

Emilija Taseva, Programme Coordinator

Deborah Unger, Communications and media

Country / Territory - Germany   |   Greece   |   Italy   |   Lithuania   |   Portugal   |   United Kingdom   
Language(s) - English   
Topic - Law enforcement   |   Organised crime   |   Sport   

Related news



The decision by UEFA to include new criteria to protect and preserve human rights and tackle corruption in the bidding requirements for the 2024 ...


Most fans don’t believe Gianni Infantino’s first year has won back trust in FIFA

Transparency International and Forza Football surveyed 25,000 fans from over 50 countries. See the results.


FIFA must do more to win back trust of football fans

It’s been one year since Gianni Infantino was elected president of FIFA with promises to clean up football. How do football fans think he's doing?

Five key lessons from the Rio Olympics

Although Rio 2016 produced many stories of great triumphs and inspired performances, it also had its fair share of controversy.

Related publications

Publication cover image

Global Corruption Report: Sport

Sport is a global phenomenon engaging billions of people and generating annual revenues of more than US$145 billion. Problems in the governance of ...

Global Corruption Report published – Feb 2016

Publication cover image

The Transparency International football governance league table

Each year FIFA hands out millions of dollars to football associations (FAs). The money is generated from two main sources: sponsors and broadcasters. ...

Report published – Nov 2015

Related blog posts

Cleaning up sport: conflicts of interest at the top

The tension between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has never been greater ... [read more]

Posted on 09 Dec 2016 by Catherine Ordway

The role of the press at the Olympic Games: a first-hand account

With their hands up in the air, ministers, four-star generals and International Olympic Commission (IOC) officials danced ... [read more]

Posted on 05 Sep 2016 by Jamil Chade

Keeping the Olympic flame alive

At midnight on 4 August I looked out of my hotel room and saw a crowd of jubilant people ushering the Olympic flame down ... [read more]

Posted on 22 Aug 2016 by Deryck Murray

Ireland’s horror week in sport: perpetrators and victims of the unOlympic Games

If you think FIFA is a mess, then take a look at the Olympic Council of Ireland and the International Boxing Association ... [read more]

Posted on 17 Aug 2016 by Gareth Sweeney

What to think when Russia walks into the Olympic stadium

For a Russian, waiting for the Olympics to begin is not easy. There are many conflicting emotions and questions. Is it ... [read more]

Posted on 05 Aug 2016 by Elena Panfilova