Tennis caught in majority of suspicious betting patterns

Khalid AliDuring the final quarter of 2015, ESSA’s alert system identified 35 sporting events that were reported to the relevant regulatory body as being suspicious, with 24 (69%) of the cases from Tennis and 8 (23%) from Football events.

The role of ESSA is to provide an early warning system with the specific aim of detecting and deterring the corruption of ESSA members’ betting markets through the manipulation of sporting events.

These results are reflective of the general trends from the previous three quarters of last year, and contribute to a year total of 100 suspicious betting sporting events, led by 73 Tennis cases.

Geographically, these Tennis cases were evenly spread, with 19 in Asia, 18 in Europe, 14 in North America, 11 in South America and 9 in Africa. The other 2 cases had no specific country origin.

ESSA Secretary General, Khalid Ali, stated that: “The threat of betting related corruption in sport, whilst involving a relatively small number of events, is a real and present issue. The primary focus of that activity is to manipulate sport to defraud betting operators. ESSA and its members continue to remain vigilant in light of that threat and work with sports to identify and punish those responsible.

Whilst expressing concern about the figures, ESSA noted that the vast majority of Tennis events are fair, and that they have been working closely with the authorities. The start of 2016 has seen a worldwide focus on alleged match-fixing in tennis, which is expected to continue with further betting integrity discussions at both national and international level.

Poor sports governance has increasingly being identified as a key facilitator of the corruption, underlined by the number of scandals including sports people and administrators, who continue to provide obstacles to the implementation of effective detection and deterrent mechanisms that could salvage a sport’s overall level of integrity.

Ali continued: “Ultimately, we need a range of solutions involving all stakeholders, but in particular we need to see more focus on the impact of good governance in sport and the enforcement of robust rules and sanctions. We have seen time and time again that effective governance practices are an important barometer of a sport’s level of integrity. I would urge all sports and governments to take a close look at the UK Sports Betting Integrity Action Plan as an example of best practice in this area.”

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To learn more about tackling corruption, register for Betting on Football 2016!

ESSA Chairman Mike O’Kane will be leading a session on how the Sports Betting Integrity Forum is implementing the UK Sports Integrity Action Plan.

The conference is on Thursday 21st April at Stamford Bridge; tickets are available at the Early Bird Price of £200 (+VAT) until the end of February!

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