Universal Fraud Detection System uncovers over 1100 suspicious sporting fixtures since start of Covid-19 pandemic

Jasper BruceNCA NewsWire
The Universal Fraud Detection System has uncovered instances of match-fixing in lower-level soccer leagues, including youth competitions. Matimix
Camera IconThe Universal Fraud Detection System has uncovered instances of match-fixing in lower-level soccer leagues, including youth competitions. Matimix Credit: News Regional Media

Match-fixing remains rife in lower-level sporting leagues, including in Australia, but a free initiative is helping sports administrators around the world blow the whistle on those responsible.

Sportradar Integrity Services has identified more than 1100 suspicious sporting matches across 70 countries since launching its Universal Fraud Detection System (UFDS) at the start of the pandemic in April 2020.

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More than half of those incidents (655) took place in the first nine months of this year, with approximately 40 per cent of the 1100 reported within domestic soccer competitions of third-grade level or below.

Sportradar is hoping global sporting competitions will follow the International Cricket Council’s lead and adopt the UFDS free of charge for major tournaments.

The UFDS will monitor 275 ICC-sanctioned matches between now and the 2023 Cricket World Cup, including those taking place at the upcoming T20 World Cup.

“As our analysis shows, match-fixing is evolving, and those behind it are diversifying their approach, both in the sports and competitions they target, and the way they make approaches to athletes, such as the rise in digital approaches,” said Sportradar Integrity Services’ managing director, Andreas Krannich.

“To help address this, Sportradar has made a significant investment to make it possible to offer the UFDS for free to global sports organisations and leagues. The reason for this is that we are committed to supporting the sustainability of global sports and using data and technology for good.”

In total, suspicious activity has been detected across 12 different sports, including in tennis (37), basketball (19), table tennis (11), ice hockey (9) and cricket (6) matches.

The majority of suspicious matches detected in 2021 were in Europe (382), but incidents were also identified in Australia, as well as in Latin America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and North America.

In a statement to NCA NewsWire, Sportradar said Australia continued to set the standard when it came to blowing the whistle on match-fixing.

“The threat is very much there for Australian sport and stakeholders must be on their guard, which in our experience they are,” a spokesperson said.

“Australian sports, law enforcement agencies and governmental bodies take the topic of match-fixing as seriously as anywhere else in the world.”

Originally published as Universal Fraud Detection System uncovers over 1100 suspicious sporting fixtures since start of Covid-19 pandemic

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