Sportradar Integrity Services: using data to improve match-fixing detection

Starlizard Integrity Services finds potential match-fixing in 167 matches

Sports integrity analyst Starlizard Integrity Services (SIS) has released its latest report on global football matches, identifying 167 games as suspicious throughout 2023. 

The study looks closely at more than 65,000 matches, with the 167 number representing 0.26% of the total. This however is an increase of 16% compared to the 144 potential cases of manipulation from 2022 that SIS flagged down.

Taking a closer look at the data, SIS outlined that 69 of the suspicious matches (41.3%) were games part of UEFA taking place in Europe, but that this also represents only 0.18% of the total UEFA matches analysed.

From the 167 total, suspicious cases of manipulation in top-level leagues made up a quarter (25.2%), while 49.7% were found to be in lower domestic leagues.

There is also a heightened risk identified among friendlies and youth games, with those in particular accounting for 10.8% and 6% of flagged matches respectively, despite only representing 2.9% and 3.5% of the total games analysed.

Additionally, suspicious first-half betting seems to be on the rise, with a total of 45 (27%) cases identified compared to the only six games in 2022 where potential first-half manipulation was seen. 

Affy Sheikh, Head of Starlizard Integrity Services, commented: “By significantly expanding our coverage to include analysis of over 65,000 football matches from 2023, our enhanced data collection enables us to delve deeper into the prevalence of suspected match-fixing. Unfortunately, our findings reveal a persistent and concerning threat to the integrity of football, with a troubling 167 matches flagged as suspicious. 

“We purposely set the bar very high when it comes to allocating suspicion ratings to matches, thereby greatly reducing the risk of including false positives. Nevertheless, the revelations in this year’s report show that combatting suspected match-fixing in football remains an ongoing challenge.

“The significant increase in suspicious First-Half Only betting is a development worth noting, as is the disproportionate prevalence of club friendly and youth matches, which shows the vulnerabilities presented by these types of games.”

SIS identifies matches as ‘suspicious’ based on betting patterns indicative of match-fixing. The company believes that all games labelled as such warrant further investigation.

The full report can be viewed here.

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