By Paul Nicholson
January 27 – The full text of the decision on the dismissal of the appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) by Albanian club Klubi Sportiv Skenderbeu to have their UEFA Champions League ban lifted has been published. It makes interesting reading and could become a landmark decision in the battle against match fixing.
Skenderbeu was banned from participating in the 2016/17 Champions League following an investigation by UEFA into match-fixing after its Betting Fraud Detection System (BFDS) flagged up and analysed suspicious betting patterns in more than 50 matches at European and domestic levels.
While no individuals were brought before UEFA for disciplinary action, it was decided by UEFA to charge the club as a whole, such was the overwhelming evidence of the findings generated by the BFDS.
BFDS, a system developed by UEFA with Sportradar, starts by flagging up unusual betting patterns. These then trigger a deeper investigation into the context around the match, for example the timing of the unusual betting patterns and how they relate to events that took place in the game. UEFA said that in the Skenderbeu cast the patterns of betting “were in total contradiction with those expected in a regular betting market.”
The CAS written ruling agreed with UEFA and in doing so takes as its evidence the BFDS system reports, rather than evidence of having caught a match fixer red-handed.
CAS makes the distinction between quantitative and qualitative information in its ruling. Quantitative information focuses on the irregular betting pattern while qualitative information centres on the analysis that puts the betting patterns into the match context. Combined in each BDFSA report they were deemed reliable evidence to uphold the original decision.
CAS says: “…the evidence derived from the BFDS system is valuable evidence that, particularly if corroborated with other evidence, can be used in order to conclude that a club was directly or indirectly involved in match-fixing.”
“… the Panel is satisfied that the BFDS is a reliable means of evidence to prove indirect involvement in match-fixing…UEFA has proven its case to the Panel’s comfortable satisfaction.”
The end result of this is that it should become easier for governing bodies to sanction match fixers and have those decision upheld by appeal bodies and CAS.
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