Concerns about the threat posed to the integrity of sports such as soccer, from the elite level right down to the amateur, have been increasing in recent years, prompting firms such as Sportradar Integrity Services to take an active role in global sports monitoring.

Sportradar works with over 84 governing bodies globally, including global authorities such as FIFA and the IOC, as well as 15 partners in the US, including Major League Baseball (MLB), National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Soccer (MLS), Nascar and the United Soccer League.

Speaking to Ampire Media, Andy Cunningham, Head of Integrity at Sportradar, discussed the measures introduced to safeguard the integrity of sports and also discussed which sectors are most under threat.

Touching on the impact of betting integrity threats on sports, Cunningham stated that numerous leagues and tournaments were under threat, including football, tennis, volleyball, hockey and handball.

He remarked: “Key trends we saw, for example in soccer, were friendly matches and warm-up matches before a season. We saw a 60% increase in the number of suspicious matches in 2020 that were soccer friendlies – over 50 matches. 

“We saw the lower tiers, the second, third, fourth and fifth in certain foreign countries, and youth level, being more widely targeted in 2021 than previously in soccer alone.”

Cunningham also focused on the burgeoning esports space, which has become an increasingly popular market for bettors.

“We treat esports like any other sport where we work with some of the biggest publishers, probably the best known such as Activision and Riot Games, around the world and essentially, from our perspective, we use technology to monitor it,” he remarked.

Cunningham highlighted Sportradar’s strategy of ‘back monitoring’ as a means of maintaining sporting integrity, which he described ‘as essentially like monitoring the stock exchange for insider trading’, except Sportradar instead analyses the betting markets for corrupt money or potentially fixed matches.

He continued: “The good news is it’s a tiny percentage of matches that have ever been treated as suspicious, typically under 1%, or even under 0.5% of the total number of matches that we look at.

“We monitor everything – last year we monitored over 600,000 sports systems around the world, and it was just over 500 that were deemed as suspicious.”

Additionally, Cunningham highlighted Sportradar’s focus on educational programmes, aimed at teaching both professional and amateur athletes about the risks posed to the integrity of global sports.

Source – Ampire Media YouTube Channel

‘Lower tier soccer facing integrity threats’ says Sportrdar’s Cunningham