A Good Practice Guide designed to challenge the scourge of match-fixing in football will be presented at the closing conference of Don’t Fix It – an anti-match-fixing partnership between the international footballers’ association FIFPro, the European Football Association (UEFA) and Birkbeck, University of London, in Slovenia next week.
The publication, which is based on an eight-country study involving nearly 2,000 footballers, will recommend local solutions, addressing economic, social and cultural conditions, and player education.
The launch of the Good Practice Guide will be a highlight of the Don’t Fix It closing conference, which will be held on June 3 and 4 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Dr Andrew Harvey, of the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre, will present and discuss the results of the research into match-fixing, which laid the foundations for the Good Practice Guide. He said: “This survey was the first large-scale attempt to ascertain the views of current players in regards to match-fixing. The objective was to better understand the issues that lead to match-fixing, in order to use this knowledge to define the prevention and education programme.”
The Good Practice Guide – designed to help professional football players’ associations play their part in efforts to protect their members and to protect football from match-fixing and other threats to integrity – is one of the many results of the Don’t Fix It project, which has proved a fruitful collaboration. In several participating countries, strong networks have been set up, consisting of representatives of the players, referees, officials/administrators and public authority.
Tony Higgins, chair of the Don’t Fix It project and FIFPro Division Europe Vice-President, said: “The consultation with our members has proved immensely valuable and will inform our FIFPro members about the extent of the problem and how the football family should respond.”
More than fifty representatives of players’ association, football associations, referees and public authority from eight participating countries will attend the Don’t Fix It closing conference as well as representatives of the most important stakeholders in European professional football. Among the issues on the agenda are presentations of renowned international match-fixing experts, such as representatives of Europol, Interpol, Sporting Chance Clinic and Transparency International.
The main lessons from the Don’t Fix It research:
- All countries are susceptible to match-fixing or other threats to integrity such as betting against the rules or sharing inside information.
- Threats to integrity take different forms in each country. Although there will be some similarities and overlaps, the profile of threats to integrity is best understood at a national level.
- Solutions to match-fixing are best developed at a local level. This allows players, referees and club officials to respond to local needs and conditions. ‘One size fits all’ solutions are not the answer.
- Co-operation and investment is essential at national and international levels on the part of law enforcement agencies, Governments and football authorities.
- Match-fixing involves complex sets of behaviours on the part of different actors with many motivations and incentives. Solutions need to be equally sophisticated in tackling these behaviours.
- Match-fixing will be best prevented using a holistic approach that addresses the economic, social and cultural conditions that give rise to match-fixing, and the establishment of clear rules on betting and match-fixing, but which also appeals to personal ethics and players’ future.
- Player education needs to be tailored specifically to the threats that pertain in the country concerned and delivered by people that players know and trust. Good role models who can offer a positive vision for players’ future is important in education programmes.
- Reporting mechanisms are important but should not be overstated as a solution. Multiple avenues and means of reporting suspicions and approaches are likely to be most effective.
The complete results of Dr. Harvey’s research can be found on www.fifpro.org and www.bbk.ac.uk .
Notes to editors
- In autumn 2012, FIFPro decided to take the initiative and involve itself in the battle against match-fixing.
- FIFPro found three committed and powerful partners for the initiative: Birkbeck, University of London; UEFA; and the European Commission. The project was funded by FIFPro and UEFA, and it received a grant from the European Union.
- Don’t Fix It was officially launched on 1 January 2013 as an anti-match-fixing partnership between the international footballers’ association FIFPro, the European Football Association (UEFA) and Birkbeck, University of London.
- Nine professional footballers’ associations from eight countries participated in the project: AIC Italy, AFAN Romania, HLSZ Hungary, JPY Finland, NISO Norway, PFA England, PFA Scotland, PSAP Greece, and SPINS Slovenia.
- Birkbeck, University of London, is a world-class research and teaching institution, a vibrant centre of academic excellence and London’s only specialist provider of evening higher education.
- In 2013, Birkbeck was ranked among the top 1% of universities in the world. Birkbeck’s students consistently rank Birkbeck number one in London for the quality of its teaching.
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