Posted on: April 4, 2022, 06:05h. 

Last updated on: April 4, 2022, 06:05h.

Many developed countries are stepping up the fight against match-fixing in sports. Spain is among them, and is now taking additional measures with the help of Stats Perform.

FC Barcelona's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
FC Barcelona’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in a recent match against Sevilla. Authorities and gaming regulators are going to begin addressing soccer match-fixing more diligently. (Image: Toronto Star)

Match-fixing is a global issue. It isn’t a crisis, as the numbers show that the number of incidents remains low. However, it’s a problem that requires constant attention to keep it from blowing up.

As the stage is being set for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Spain is reeling from several match-fixing scandals in tennis and soccer. As a result, it is stepping up its game and calling in some big guns to help.

Spain Increases Anti-Match-Fixing Ops

Operation Oikos, developed in May 2019, was a real mess in the world of Spanish professional soccer. Match-fixing had reached the top tier of the country’s favorite sports pastime, bringing embarrassment to the industry.

Today, almost three years later, the case is still open in a court in Huesca. Prosecutors, regulators and the government are trying to overcome the difficulties involved in the ramifications abroad, encrypted telephone messages and the imperceptible trace left by the transfer of illicit money.

The Spanish Ministry of the Interior announced that, from May 4 to 5, 30 agents of the National Police will receive training dedicated to the new forms of match-fixing in sports betting. Stats Perform, the global sports technology firm, is helping put together data and educational material for the program.

In addition, JDigital, as a representative of the online gambling sector, will participate in the session. Members of the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ, for its Spanish acronym) will, as well.

For his part, Iñaki Arbea, a police officer on leave to La Liga as its head of integrity, emphasizes that the final periods of the championships imply an increased risk that soccer players lend themselves to fraud. This is mainly due to the fact that many teams are no longer in competition.

Cryptocurrencies Come Under Fire

Among the topics will be cryptocurrencies, which are allegedly one of the new forms of corruption with ties to sports betting. Arbea is helping to spearhead the initiative. He will discuss cryptocurrencies and the proliferation on the Internet of unregulated gambling platforms.

In this regard, Jorge Hinojosa, general director of JDigital, reiterates that neither sports organizations nor operators support illegal practices. He also emphasizes the need to work on the regulation of cryptocurrencies.

In 2015, Arbea participated in the investigation of another match-fixing case that took illegal bonuses in Spanish soccer. That was the first time match-fixing made an appearance in a Spanish court of law.

Cryptocurrencies have become a simple instrument for laundering the proceeds of illegal bets because they make it difficult to follow the trail of money,” states Iñaki Arbea.

The DGOJ is in charge of ensuring the integrity, security, reliability and transparency of gaming operations. To that end, it operates the Global Betting Market Research Service (Sigma, for its Spanish acronym). This entity is in charge of collaborating with the Security Forces and others in the prevention and detection of match-fixing.

Last year, Sigma carried out 440 actions, of which 146 were related to the integrity of sports competitions. Of these, 88 had to do with soccer; table tennis had 23 and tennis saw 13. These three sports regularly account for around 89% of the match-fixing violations.

Source link