August 17 – Sports betting integrity specialist Starlizard Integrity Services (SIS) has identified 79 ‘suspicious’ football matches played globally between 1 January and 30 June 2023, indicating the likelihood of betting related match-fixing.
A total of 40 of the ‘suspicious’ matches (51%) were played in the UEFA region, with 11 matches (14%) in the Conmebol region.
28 (35%) of the matches took place in just three countries, with one of those countries accounting for 12 integrity alerts (15%).
“The 79 matches considered “suspicious” in the first half of 2023 represent 0.48% of a total of 16,336 football matches analysed by SIS during the period. This compares with 84 “suspicious” matches (0.45%) from a total of 18,845 games analysed for the same period in 2022,” said Starlizard.
The integrity arm of sports betting data specialists Starlizard also identified a change in the pattern of match-fixing activity with 21% of the ‘suspicious’ activity relating to first half only betting markets.
Affy Sheikh, Head of Starlizard Integrity Services, said: “These statistics show that suspicious betting activity and the spectre of match-fixing continue to hang over football – and are not about to go away. The fact that we’ve seen similar levels of suspicion over the past three years, serves to emphasise that concerted ongoing efforts and stronger collaboration amongst anti-corruption stakeholders are required to tackle this persistent problem in the beautiful game.”
SIS categorises matches as “suspicious” when they are found to have suspect betting patterns associated with them that may be indicative of match-fixing. SIS says that all matches so identified would warrant further investigation.
“The latest data also points to an increase in suspicious activity in more specialised markets, such as First Half Only betting. This highlights the variety of markets in which attempts at match manipulation may occur. Unfortunately, the increase in integrity alerts from lower domestic leagues again demonstrates the vulnerability of those involved in lower-funded leagues and competitions where continued vigilance and education are of upmost importance.”
SIS key findings:
- 28 of the “suspicious” matches (35%) came from three countries, with one country having 12 integrity alerts and another two countries having eight alerts each.
- 24 different countries had at least one integrity alert in a domestic men’s competition.
- Domestic league competitions below the top-level accounted for 48 “suspicious” matches (61%).
- 40 of the “suspicious” matches (51%) were played in the UEFA confederation region, with 11 matches (14%) taking place in the CONMEBOL confederation region.
- 21 matches (27%) were flagged due to suspicious betting patterns in First Half Only betting markets.
- 11 (14%) of the “suspicious” games were international matches – i.e. matches that do not fall within a specific country in any of the prescribed confederation regions, such as international fixtures, cross-border club competitions, and all club team friendly matches.
- Nine of the “suspicious” matches (11%) were non-competitive club friendlies.
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