In a discussion at the recent SBC event, Betting on Sports Europe – Digital, it was suggested that the most effective way to combat match fixing is to ensure that players are educated on the subject matter and effective prevention measures are in place, according to Giancarlo Sergi, General Secretary, Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS).

Taking part in a panel entitled ‘Assessing the impact of the Tennis review of integrity’, Sergi highlighted his belief that the best way to eradicate match-fixing in tennis is through enhanced cooperation between regulatory bodies and preventative methods such as education programmes. 

He explained: “I think there is never enough cooperation. More importantly education and prevention is also very very important. We tend to sanction a lot and this is normal. We do work a lot with Europol and Interpol, but in my humble opinion, sanctioning is the end of the process. 

“From a sports perspective, sanctioning also means failure at the end of the day. It’s a weakness and what we need to do is invest in the beginning of the process by educating the players. For me the future of fighting against match fixing is really education and prevention.”

During the sporting ‘hiatus’ this summer, the Tennis Integrity Unit established an education programme with over 1500 players and other covered persons to educate them on how to combat match-fixing. 

Jonathan Gray, CEO of TIU, agreed: “Prevention is better than curing.

“Tennis has invested significantly in the education programme both in terms of the online mandatory training that all cover persons now must complete in order to be part of a professional game, through to my education and training team who regularly visit large tournaments and brief players and other persons, as well as doing a lot of work online training.”

He also believes that some of the issues in preventing match-fixing lie ‘around the structure of the sport and how money flows in the sport and obviously those issues are somewhat delayed due to COVID at the moment but on the agenda’.

David Lampitt, Managing Director of Sports Partnerships at Sportradar, added: “One of the things we’ve pioneered at Sportradar is the use of account level information and access to account level information that we have through our own systems and managed trading services. 

“This gives us visibility on those more specific forms of fixing and I agree with Johnny that this is certainly something we’ve seen an increase in terms of that type of fixing, as opposed to historically more fixing on match related or set related outcomes. 

“I think all of those challenges are present.  I think we’ve got to harness technology and work out what we have to do. I think the TIU or the TIA has to do the same.

“The monitoring that we have done since 2018 with the ITF has seen a 48% decrease in suspicious betting alerts across ITF tennis. I’m not saying that was purely because of the work we did on monitoring. I think there were a number of factors in there, but it’s certainly one of those key areas.” 

Why education is key in preventing match fixing