CAS dismisses Skenderbeu appeal with key decision in battle against match-fixers


July 7 – The dismissal of the appeal by Klubi Sportiv Skenderbeu to have their Champions League ban lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) could prove to be a landmark decision in the battle against match-fixing.

The Albanian club 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 suspicious betting patterns.

UEFA took the decision that KS Skenderbeu was involved in arranging the outcome of matches and subsequently sanctioned them. The club initially appealed to UEFA, an appeal that was rejected on June 1, leading to the club going to CAS.

UEFA said the CAS decision marked a major endorsement of its match-fixing detection procedures and BFDS, that has been developed with betting fraud monitoring specialist Sportradar.

The system identified abnormal betting patterns on matches played by the Albanian club at European and domestic levels and flagged them up to UEFA’s integrity officer. This triggered a deeper investigation by UEFA and Sportradar that identified betting patterns which, UEFA says, “were in total contradiction with those expected in a regular betting market.”

The fact that CAS has endorsed the UEFA decision also serves to more formally endorse the BFDS which is at the frontline of betting fraud detection. It adds a legal weight to the system being a credible tool in prosecutions of match-fixers, as well as being a serious deterrent.

BFDS, established in 2009, uses algorithms and mathematical models to compare calculated odds with actual bookmakers’ odds to determine whether the odds in a specific minute or time period are irregular.

Currently about 2,000 UEFA competition matches are monitored per season plus a further 30,000 member association matches covering the top two divisions and cup competitions in each country

Its objective is to identify irregular betting movements, both pre-match and in-game (live), in the core betting markets and covers all major European and Asian bookmakers. UEFA says the core betting markets are: the Asian handicap (AHC); Totals (number of goals in a match) and 1X2 (home win, draw, away win).

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