FIFA closes match-fixing detection division, outsources work


FIFA president Gianni Infantino. (Ennio Leanza/Keystone via AP)

ZURICH — FIFA is closing its match-fixing detection division, deciding to outsource the work of discovering betting irregularities in world soccer.

The investigations that FIFA’s Early Warning System had been carrying out for a decade will now be run by data services company Sportradar.

FIFA said Friday that Sportradar’s Fraud Detection System will “identify and analyze any suspicious betting behaviour or patterns.” Sportradar intelligence experts will also report to FIFA, which has yet to replace security director Ralf Mutschke, a former Interpol director who left in December after being in charge of World Cup security and fighting match-fixing.

The governing body previously highlighted the advantages of having an in-house fixing monitoring unit, describing EWS as a “key pillar of FIFA’s ethics work” and stressing that it operated independently of the commercial betting industry. A Sportradar division provides services to bookmakers.

But FIFA maintained that “the full range of fraud prevention services” being made available to the organization by Sportradar is beneficial for soccer.

“Preserving the integrity of the game is paramount to FIFA,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said. “Given that match manipulation is still a serious concern for everyone who loves the game, FIFA will work with Sportradar, the global leader in match manipulation detection and prevention, to invigorate and enhance our integrity program.”

Sportradar will also provide an app for players and coaches to confidentially report concerns about irregularities around games. The service will also be an educational tool, warning participants in soccer about the “repercussions of fraudulent activities,” FIFA said.

Sportradar has existing betting monitoring agreements with some regional soccer bodies, including UEFA.


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