12% of athletes have played in a fixed match – UL survey

University of Limerick research involving 600 European athletes has revealed that 12% of those surveyed have participated in a fixed match, writes Stephen Barry.

In addition, nearly 15% have been asked to fix a match within the last year, with 40% replying that club officials were most likely to instigate contact.

However, 36% said they wouldn’t report any suspicions of match-fixing, mainly due to lack of trust and confidentiality.

Seán Kelly MEP spoke at the launch of the findings.

“Match-fixing is an international phenomenon often linked to criminal networks. Ireland is not immune to this threat which has rocked the very foundations on which sport is based,” said MEP Seán Kelly at the launch of the findings of Fix the Fixing: Proactive Quelling of Sports Events Manipulation.

“The European Commission has been actively developing initiatives to combat match fixing; if we fail to act, sport viewership, spectatorship and participation are all at risk.”

In Ireland, two Athlone Town players, Igor Labuts and Dragos Sfrijan, were banned from football for 12 months for match-fixing offences. The duo are appealing the suspension.

Igor Labuts and Dragos Sfrijan

In September, the FAI also launched an investigation into alleged match-fixing in a friendly involving Bray Wanderers.

The UL research, involving athletes from Ireland, Austria, Cyprus, France, Greece and the UK, was done across 11 sports; soccer, basketball, Olympic handball, volleyball, badminton, water polo, gymnastics, weightlifting, rugby, swimming and martial arts.

National lead on the project Dr Tadhg MacIntyre added: “The knowledge gap we found was vast: Refs and players in professional sports had received mandatory training and could have written a textbook on the topic, whereas in other sports awareness of the rules was virtually non-existent.

“The online tool we produced is available in four languages and will help address this knowledge gap. It can assist sport bodies in educating their members about the consequences of even minor breaches of sporting integrity and how players may expose themselves to unnecessary risks.”

The online educational tool is available at: fixthefixing.eu.


KEYWORDS: Match-fixing, Sport

 

By Stephen Barry

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