More than 250 friendly football matches involving European clubs have shown signs of suspicious activity during the 2016-2020 period, new research shows.
The results come from a three-year study funded by the Erasmus + program of the European Commission and led by the University of Nicosia Research Foundation. He claims that due to a lack of regulation, match-fixing is predominant in friendly football matches.
The survey looked at 700 players in Cyprus, Greece and Malta, and found that 26.5% of players had played in a friendly match that they suspected had been manipulated. In total, 26.3% of the steps to fix a match were made by club officials, and 15% by other players.
Club managers were the instigators in 19% of the steps to manipulate matches, and were the main beneficiaries in 26.3% of the steps.
The study found that national and international football federations have been slow to determine where the responsibility for these matches lies, especially when clubs from different countries play in a third country.
This lack of regulation, along with the availability of these games in global betting markets, with poorly or unregulated betting operators, places the games at increased risk of potential fixing. Poorly and unregulated betting operators rarely report signs of suspicious activity, which is often a licensing requirement for regulated operators.
“The combination of a lack of regulation, supervision and information makes these matches easier to handle than competitive matches,” said lead investigator Professor Nicos Kartakoullis, president of the University of Nicosia.
âThis research shows that in terms of governance, friendly matches should be viewed as competitive matches.
âWith data from 4,000 friendlies offered for betting purposes around the world each year, it is also essential that betting companies receiving this data operate in well-regulated jurisdictions and report suspicious bets to protect the integrity of these events. “