Over 500 football matches deemed 'suspicious' by bet-monitoring system in 2021

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SINGAPORE — Football continues to be the sport at most risk of corruption, with more than 500 suspicious matches detected by the Universal Fraud Detection System (UFDS) bet monitoring service this year.

According to figures released on Thursday (14 October) by sport integrity solutions supplier Sportradar – the developer of UFDS – approximately 40 per cent of the suspicious activities reported within domestic football competitions comes from third-tier leagues and below, as fixers increase their attention on lower-level matches.

Sportradar has utilised the UFDS to detect suspicious activity in 12 different sports across more than 70 countries in the last 18 months.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, the system has detected more than 1,100 suspicious sports matches, with 655 of them detected in the first nine months of 2021.

Rapid increase in suspicious matches in esports

Sportradar said that, from its findings, there has been a rapid increase in the number of suspicious matches reported in esports, as its rising popularity has made it a target for fixers.

Over 70 suspicious matches have been detected by the UFDS since April 2020 across five different game titles, with more than 40 of those suspicious matches identified since January this year.

In addition to football and esports, the UFDS has also detected suspicious activities in other sports, such as tennis (37 matches), basketball (19), table tennis (11), ice hockey (nine) and cricket (six).

These activities occurred most frequently in Europe (382 suspicious matches since January), followed by Latin America (115), Asia Pacific (74), Africa (43), Middle East (10) and North America (nine).

UFDS to be offered free to sports federations, leagues, state authorities

From this month, Sportradar will begin offering the UFDS free of charge to sports federations, leagues and state authorities.

"The reason for this is that we are committed to supporting the sustainability of global sports and using data and technology for good," said Andreas Krannich, Sportradar's managing director (integrity services).

"Match-fixing is evolving, and those behind it are diversifying their approach, both in the sports and competitions they target, and the way they make approaches to athletes, such as the rise in digital approaches. Sportradar has made a significant investment to make it possible to offer the UFDS for free."

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