Integrity in sport
The global sporting community is faced with an increasing number of match-fixing incidents and allegations of corruption.
Organized criminal groups are involved in corruption in sport and match-fixing on a massive scale. These crimes cross international borders and generate huge profits which are then channelled into other illegal activities.
Estimates of the money made through illegal betting alone run into hundreds of millions of euros annually, while the use of Internet gambling networks has made it extremely easy to bet on matches anywhere in the world.
A coordinated prevention strategy for match-fixing is vital, and must involve stakeholders on national, regional and international levels.
INTERPOL’s Integrity in Sport programme is a global training, education and prevention initiative with a focus on match-fixing as well as irregular and illegal betting.
Its two main aims are to:
- educate and train key actors in sport on how to recognize, resist and report attempts to corrupt or fix matches;
- better prepare law enforcement on how to investigate and cooperate in corruption or match-fixing related cases.
The programme offers a number of tools to protect sport from corruption, including national and regional workshops, and e-learning modules.
Since the launch of the programme in May 2011, INTERPOL has held Integrity in Sport events in more than 20 countries delivering direct awareness-raising or training to more than 2,200 individuals from 196 countries as outlined in the annual activity reports.
INTERPOL and the International Olympic Committee work together to identify and address issues including doping, match-fixing and illegal or irregular sports betting activities, and attempted corruption of match officials and players. Cooperation was formalized in a Memorandum of Understanding, signed in January 2014.
In an agreement with the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, signed in October 2013, INTERPOL will provide additional support to the Brazilian authorities in ensuring the safety and security of the Olympic Games.
INTERPOL and FIFA entered into a joint initiative in May 2011, with FIFA pledging to contribute EUR 20 million over 10 years to INTERPOL’s Integrity in Sport programme.
The first phase programme (2011 – 2014) focused on raising awareness, with the second phase from 2014 onwards, focusing on capacity building with targeted training courses delivered to participants in all regions of the world.
In June 2015, following investigations into corruption against football’s governing body, INTERPOL announced its decision to suspend the agreement which included a freeze on the use of financial contributions from FIFA.
As of June 2015, a total of EUR 11 million had been contributed by FIFA: EUR 4 million per year for the first two years and EUR 1.5 million every subsequent year. In July 2015 INTERPOL terminated the agreement with FIFA and returned the EUR 2.9 million which remained unspent from the donation.
A multi-faceted approach
The Integrity in Sport programme can assist sporting entities, government departments, law enforcement agencies and other relevant stakeholders in developing prevention strategies, integrity units and training courses for specific audiences.
Activities are based on the five core principles below:
- Partnerships: strategies should incorporate partnerships between national sporting entities and betting organizations as well as public authorities including law enforcement and regulators.
- Information: all partners need specific advice that can directly assist them in their individual role in protecting the integrity of sport.
- Coordination: to ensure a comprehensive and unified approach to both the prevention of match-fixing and responses to allegations of match-fixing.
- Prevention: including awareness raising, training and education, as well as deterrents such as regulations that ensure sanctions for unprofessional behaviour.
- Proactivity: anticipating threats and putting the necessary preventative measures in place is necessary for the long-term preservation of integrity in sport.
- INTERPOL Major Event Support Teams (IMESTs) can be deployed to assist member countries in the preparation, coordination and implementation of security arrangements for major events, including sporting events such as the Olympics or FIFA World Cup.
- Operation Soga works to disrupt the illegal soccer gambling activities of criminal organizations in Asia. In total, the five phases of the operation have made more than 8,400 arrests, seized almost USD 40 million in cash, and closed down some 3,400 illegal gambling dens which handled almost USD 5.7 billion worth of bets.
- The Match-Fixing Task Force is a specialist network of investigators. It enables member countries to better exchange of intelligence and experience and to develop cross-border strategies against international match-fixing.