ICSS, Partners Launch Online Course to Fight Match-Fixing, Betting Fraud in Sport
DOHA, Qatar (April 23, 2023) — The International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS), through its London-based ICSS INSIGHT, and jointly with its partners in BITEFIX, a collaborative partnership project co-funded by the ERASMUS+ Sport programme of the European Union (EU), launched a new Online Training Educational Programme on the exchange of information and data protection to fight match-fixing and betting fraud in sport.
The launch took place during the BITEFIX, EU ERASMUS+ Sport project’s fifth transnational meeting held at HASK Mladost Sports Centre in Zagreb, Croatia, with the active involvement of all project partners, namely the Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University, ISCTE – Associacao ISCTE Conhecimento e Inovacao, Sevilla Futbol Club Foundation, Calcio Servizi Lega Pro Srl/Lega Italiana Calcio Professionistico, Starlizard Integrity Services, HASK Mladost, and Grupo Desportivo Estoril Praia.
This educational tool aims to provide athletes, coaches and sports officials with in-depth knowledge of match-fixing and its associated problems including illegal sports betting. As a part of the launch, a first training session designed for athletes and club staff was held in order to test and promote the use of the online course.
During the transnational meeting, participants also analysed the project’s main deliverables, namely the Guide of Best Practices on the Fight Against Match-Fixing, and discussed different topics such as the next steps of implementing the online training educational programme, the launch of the BITEFIX e-Community ‘International Network of Experts on match-fixing and betting fraud in sports’, and policy recommendations on the exchange of information to combat the manipulation of sports competitions.
The meeting was followed by the International Conference, Integrity of Sports – Countering Match-Fixing, organised by HASK Mladost within the framework of the programme and under the patronage of the mayor of the city of Zagreb, Tomislav Tomasevic, marking the 120th anniversary of the organisation founded in 1903. The event took place at the University of Zagreb.
“We are honoured and proud to be celebrating HASK Mladost’s 120th anniversary on this occasion, by holding BITEFIX’s Transnational Project’s meeting, training, and an international conference around the important combat to the manipulation of sports competitions. This was an important moment for sharing the tools produced by the consortium so far, available on the project’s website, and highlighting the importance of bringing people together to strengthen the resilience of sports organisations and work with determination and passion for the safeguard of sport’s values,” said Diogo Guia, executive director of ICSS Europe and project coordinator.
“Manipulation in sports is not only characteristic of high and professional sports, but the threat is also there at the grassroots level of European sports. Only by continuous vigilance and concrete tools – physical and virtual – can we bring security to safeguard the integrity of sports. HASK Mladost advocates that Croatian institutions need to engage more seriously and responsibly to meet the Macolin Convention standard,” said Bojan Mitrovic of HASK Mladost, Croatia.
“Delivering training and education programmes to athletes and clubs, raising awareness about the extent and threat of match-fixing and how it can affect them, is such an important facet of sports integrity work. With that in mind, it was great to engage with the athletes and club officials at HASK Mladost on the subject today,” said Affy Sheikh, head of Starlizard Integrity Services.
“The feedback of the public showed the importance of such educative initiatives. There is still so much to do. It is not only important to explain what a fix is, but also understand the new incentive and risk areas that the current betting market has created,” said Prof Marcelo Moriconi, an academic researcher from ISCTE-IUL University in Portugal.
“We should pay attention to the importance of training grassroots teams about these issues and raise awareness of what the consequences are for them and their mates. At Sevilla FC Foundation, we are in line with the authorities and all types of such initiatives that assure the growing protection of our competitions,” said Jose Vinas Rodriguez, responsible for the sustainability of Sevilla FC Foundation.
The Doha-based ICSS is a global, independent and non-profit organisation that works to address some of the most prominent challenges and issues facing the world of sport today, as well as to protect it from emerging and future threats.