Starlizard reports match-fixing is not slowing with youth matches increasingly targeted  

February 2 – Sports betting monitoring specialists Starlizard Integrity Services (SIS) are reporting a slight increase in the number of matches that showed ‘suspicious’ betting activity in 2022.

SIS identified an increasing number of suspect games taking place in Asia and a concerning trend towards the rise of suspicious youth matches.

A total of 144 football matches in 2022 were assessed as suspicious by SIS, a marginal increase on the 140 suspicious matches in 2021.

The 144 matches assessed as suspicious in 2022 represent 0.39% of a total of 37,354 football matches analysed by SISduring the twelve-month period. This compares to 0.32% of the 43,749 football matches analysed in 2021.

SIS categorises matches as “suspicious” when they are found to have suspect betting patterns associated with them indicating potential match-fixing. SIS believes that all matches identified would warrant further investigation.

In Asia, where 46 suspicious matches (32%) were identified, the figure was up from 31 matches (22%) in 2021 and 13matches (9%) in 2020.

In Europe, 51 suspicious matches (35%) were identified in 2022, down from 70 matches (50%) the previous year.

From just one suspicious youth match in 2021, the number of matches assessed as suspicious jumped to 10 in 2022.

Affy Sheikh, Head of Starlizard Integrity Services, commented: “Our analysis of over 37,000 football matches played in 2022 reveals that match-fixing remains an ever-present threat to football. The overall number of suspicious games isvery similar to that observed in the previous year, and, while it is apparent that some of the detail within that number has changed, the figures ultimately show that suspected match-fixing in football continues unabated.”

The 144 suspicious matches were played in 33 different countries. Data showed that 27 of the matches (19%) were‘international’ matches –matches that do not fall within a specific country in any of the prescribed confederation regions or competitions.

Of the 144 suspicious matches, 48 (33%) took place in the top- level domestic competitions while there was also anincrease in the number of suspicious matches taking place in second-tier domestic competitions and below, with 61 matches (42%) identified, up from 43 matches (31%) in 2021.

“The concerning rise in matches identified in Asia is one that all stakeholders should note, and it is particularlytroubling to see a significant increase in the number of suspicious youth matches, which highlights the vulnerability and susceptibility of young players and underlines the importance of protecting them from an early age,” said Sheikh.

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