UEFA’s commitment to fighting match-fixing, protecting the integrity of competitions and ensuring the trust of football fans and stakeholders was highlighted at the latest meeting of the UEFA working group on match-fixing in Istanbul, held on the occasion of the UEFA Super Cup match.
Participants discussed a framework for future steps to be taken on key integrity themes included in UEFA’s overall strategy for the period until 2024, Together for the Future of Football.
UEFA has made integrity matters a core element of its mission, given that match-fixing and corruption represent a serious threat to football’s essential soul. “We can do nothing without a belief in and the reliability of our competitions,” European football’s governing body emphasises.
UEFA pledges the following steps as part of its strategy until 2024:
- Develop existing and identify new means to protect the integrity of European football competitions.
- Improve the ability to detect suspicious activity in relation to doping and match-fixing using advanced technology.
- Increase the focus on the impact of potential conflicts of interest on match and competition integrity.
- Through joint efforts with clubs, leagues and governing bodies, diligently persist in rooting out activities that undermine our competitions and harm our collective reputation.
The meeting in Turkey brought UEFA together with delegates from national prosecutorial services and police representatives, as well as international police cooperation representatives from EUROPOL and INTERPOL.
Also present were international policy organisations including the Council of Europe and United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and betting experts in the monitoring and integrity fields, including Sportradar and Starlizard Integrity Services. The meeting was co-hosted by UEFA and the Turkish Football Federation (TFF).
Given UEFA’s repeated calls for increased cooperation on match-fixing and corruption between state authorities, football stakeholders, governments, policy makers, the betting industry and football, the aim of the Istanbul gathering was to unite experts from various fields to seek new innovative and creative approaches towards tackling challenges presented by match-fixing.
In line with that aim, UEFA presented specific areas of its strategy and other key integrity initiatives related to protecting the integrity of football, and sought constructive and concrete ideas to implement measures in these strategic areas.
The working group discussed, among other things, current UEFA integrity activities such as new educational initiatives and the EURO 2020 integrity action plan, as well as the potential impact of such initiatives in reducing the threat from match-fixing, both in operational and programmatic terms.
The meeting also highlighted issues such as continued difficulties in the applicability of national law in sharing timely information or evidence with sports organisations, and the harmonisation of legal frameworks in football disciplinary regulations, as well as the importance of enacting legislation which establishes match-fixing as a crime in national jurisdictions.
The need was stressed for strengthened intelligence coordination, with UEFA acting as a central point within European football whenever necessary to promote international coordination and share information, alerts, and other intelligence related to match-fixing with competent public authorities.
Additional discussions focused on recent successes in match-fixing investigations and sanctions, with a view towards overcoming problems that have arisen in past cases - such as access to evidence, and lack of police/prosecutorial investigations at a national level when cases are referred from UEFA.
The working group called for solutions to problems that have emerged in tackling match-fixing across borders, through the building of effective structures that included football authorities.
UEFA will now study the proposals and ideas that emerged in Istanbul to identify potential ways forward, to further strengthen its work in this crucial area of the game.
Click here for more information on UEFA’s initiatives to combat match-fixing.