Saturday , May 25 2024

Constant vigilance to protect football’s integrity!

Ahead of the 2023 UEFA Nations League Finals, UEFA’s European football anti-match-fixing working group held its annual meeting in Rotterdam to address the constantly evolving threats to the game’s integrity and how to combat them most effectively.

The meeting brought together leading anti-match-fixing stakeholders from sport, government, law enforcement and private industry as part of a coordinated and multi-faceted approach to a topic whose impact extends far beyond the field of play.

Angelo Rigopoulous, UEFA managing director of integrity and regulatory, said, “UEFA very much recognises the need to unite all key stakeholders involved in the fight against match-fixing and to particularly address current threats and common challenges together.”

“UEFA’s European football anti-match-fixing working group plays a crucial role in our efforts to strengthen a unified approach in upholding the integrity of the game and creates an open forum among the stakeholders to identify, discuss and tackle common priorities.”

Since last year, the working group has been formed of a permanent core of representatives from UEFA, the Council of Europe, Europol, Interpol and the Group of Copenhagen (advisory group of the Macolin Convention’s follow-up committee). This core group was joined, in this annual meeting in Rotterdam, by a select group of integrity experts from CONMEBOL, the International Olympic Committee, the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB), the National Platform of the Netherlands, Sportradar, United Lotteries for Integrity in Sports (ULIS) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Each organisation provided invaluable insight into their specific anti-match-fixing efforts which fed into the main discussions on global challenges, regional and transnational trends, and solutions for preventing, detecting, and disrupting match-fixing. This included polices and strategies in the areas of performance analysis, confidential reporting, investigation methods and best practices.

Additionally, the working group underlined the need to be vigilant on new challenges and identified the key priorities to be addressed in the near future.

Regional workshops

UEFA’s anti-match-fixing unit has also this year introduced a series of regional workshops, bringing together national associations’ integrity officers with national and international authorities. Involving up to seven associations, the workshops present opportunities to discuss common challenges and increase awareness of the fight against match-fixing in European sport.

Kosovo staged the first event in April, welcoming representatives from Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Slovenia. Next week, Lithuania will host visitors from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Sweden and Ukraine, with topics set to include data protection and disciplinary aspects.

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