Uefa seeks partner to aid battle against match-fixing

The UEFA logo is seen on the Champions League trophy (by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images for UEFA)

European football’s governing body Uefa has launched a process to find a partner to aid its fight against match-fixing in the sport.

Uefa announced after last month’s Executive Committee meeting in Ljubljana that it would commission research to analyse different possible future structures when it came to efforts to combat corrupt practices.

Uefa has now said it wishes to select one or several companies to commission external research into whether international cooperation between football bodies, state authorities, and other stakeholders can be better structured, resourced, and more independent in a more effective way.

The selected partner, or partners, will be responsible for conducting and producing a feasibility study for Uefa with respect to the fight against on-field corruption in European football. Interested parties have been asked to come forward by October 28, with a deadline of November 27 set for entry of responses to the tender.

Uefa said it will seek to evaluate and select a winning proposal, or proposals, in December. It added in a statement: “Since 2009, Uefa has established a full-time anti match-fixing unit. Uefa, as football’s European governing body continues to be fully committed to protecting the essence of football’s spirit and is dedicated to combatting the scourge of match-fixing.

“The problem of match-fixing has increased in recent years and, despite the excellent work done, the capacity of Uefa and other sports bodies to fight it has not grown in line with the threat. Sport leaders have repeatedly stated that sport itself does not have the means to effectively counter match-fixing – only state authorities do – which must be done complementarily.”

Suspicious betting activity around international and domestic football matches was said to have declined in 2018, according to a report issued by Stats Perform and Starlizard Integrity Services in August. A total of 377 matches were identified as having suspicious betting patterns, versus 397 matches in 2017.

The Suspicious Betting Trends in Global Football Report was compiled using data from 62,250 football matches played in 2018. This included domestic and international competitions across 115 countries and six continents. The decline in suspicious activity as a percentage was even more pronounced given that the report reviewed 14 per cent more matches than in 2017, the first year it was published.

Analysed by geography, Europe had the highest number of suspicious matches (227 versus 237 in 2017) but Asia had the highest number as a percentage of matches analysed (0.95 per cent versus 1.34 per cent in 2017).