Stats Perform and Starlizard Integrity reports show reduction in suspicious football matches

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Perform Integrity and Starlizard Integrity Services Stats reported a reduction in the number of suspicious football matches in 2020 in their fourth joint annual report, marking the third consecutive year that the proportion of suspicious matches has declined.

Investigators identified 217 games in 2020 as suspects – 0.35% of the 61,296 games analyzed – which is a drop in real terms and as a percentage from the 456 games in the previous year’s report, 0.56% of 80,939 matches evaluated in 2019.

The number of suspicious matches is now less than 50% of the number of matches in 2018, the first year of the Football Stats Perform and Starlizard report where 0.73% of matches were classified as suspicious.

North / Central America was the only continent to record its highest number of suspicious matches so far with six, but its overall proportion remains below the global average at 0.26%. 2,313 matches were analyzed in the region in 2020.

In South America, the number of suspicious matches increased for the first time despite a significant drop in the number of matches analyzed: 24 suspicious matches, 6,883 supervised matches. The number and proportion (0.35%) of suspicious matches returned to the 2018 level.

Jake marais, Global Head of Integrity, Stats Perform, commented: “After four years of publishing this report, it is great to see that the analysis continues to generate objective and factual information for football governing bodies, football players. integrity and the fans.

“2020 has been an exceptional year for football in the way it has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we will undoubtedly understand the long-term effects and risks to the sport for several years to come. Despite the reduction in fixtures in 2020, there was still a very high number of matches that we identified as suspect and potentially linked to manipulation.

“There are cautious signs of optimism in some areas, but the report shows that the risk of match-fixing is ubiquitous in football, and it is paramount that those who protect the sport are properly equipped to protect the good game.”

Of the 61,296 matches analyzed – 23% less than the number of matches investigated in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic – 42% took place at the highest level of national football in the country in which they took place, followed by 36% in the second respective levels.

Friendly matches continued to “pose significant problems for football authorities”, as their number rose from 0.67% to 1.19%, with particular attention in countries with “a historically increased risk of competitive matches. suspects ”.

As a result, the suspicious game proposal peaked in the spring of 2020 due to an increased level of friendlies and smaller tournaments, before leveling off in the fall as the schedule “returned to relative normalcy” afterwards. initial blockages.

Although audiences for women’s football have grown over the past year with increased interest from broadcast media, suspicious matches “continue to be rare” with only one match identified out of 3,700.

The report also noted that interventions by football authorities and law enforcement in men’s and women’s football have “preceded significant cuts in suspect matches.”

Affy Sheikh, Integrity Manager at Starlizard, added: “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the cancellation of football matches and the suspension of leagues around the world, resulting in a significant reduction in the number of matches played in 2020.

“What is worrying is that we have still identified over 200 games that are suspicious in terms of potential match manipulation, and which we believe warrant further investigation. Despite the more limited availability of matches due to the pandemic, it suggests that criminals have found new ways and new targets in their attempts to manipulate matches and betting markets.

“It is imperative that all football stakeholders remain vigilant against the threat of match fixing at all times and make adequate resources available to keep the sport clean, free from corrupt influence, and to ensure that football fans can enjoy an honest and fair game. . “

Stats Perform’s analysis was supported by its network of football association partners including the FA Women’s Super League (FA WSL), Colombia DIMAYOR and the Dutch Eredivisie, among others.


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