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Match-fixing and illegal gambling

Training and awareness

At INTERPOL, we offer a global training, education and prevention initiative with a focus on competition manipulation as well as irregular and illegal betting.

Its 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 cases related to corruption or match-fixing;
  • train sports fact finders on how to initiate and carry out an internal inquiry into suspected manipulation of competitions; 
  • prepare sport trainers on how to deliver awareness-raising sessions to their clubs.

As part of this, we have developed online training for players, referees, managers and coaches on how to recognize, resist and report any form of match manipulation.

Since the launch of the programme in 2011, we have held events and workshops in more than 25 countries, benefiting more than 2,500 individuals.

A multi-faceted approach

The Crimes 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 sport competition manipulation.
  • 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 Match-fixing Task Force

Match-fixing and illegal soccer gambling are closely related. Organized crime syndicates engage in these activities in order to generate and launder criminal proceeds.

In response, the global INTERPOL Match-Fixing Task Force (IMFTF) brings together law enforcement agencies from around the world to tackle match-fixing and corruption in sports.

The IMFTF supports member countries with investigations and law enforcement operations in all sports, and maintains a global network of investigators for the sharing of information, intelligence and best practices. Regular meetings have been held since 2011 and the IMFTF membership has grown from the initial eight to more than 70.

While its emphasis is on investigations, the IMFTF is closely linked to other INTERPOL activities which focus on capacity building and training to counter crimes in sport.

Operation Soga, against illegal football gambling

Illegal gambling is one of the most prevalent criminal activities in Asia. INTERPOL coordinates a tactical operation codenamed Soga (short for SOccer GAmbling), which aims to identify and dismantle the international criminal networks behind illegal soccer gambling, especially during major football tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup or UEFA Euro Cup.

In a total of five waves carried out between 2007 and 2014, Operation SOGA resulted in more than 8,400 arrests, the seizure of almost USD 40 million in cash, and the closure of some 3,400 illegal gambling dens which handled bets worth almost USD 5.7 billion. The operations have successfully removed a major source of proceeds for the organized crime syndicates.