Corruption in sport

Sport brings people together, but criminals looking to make large profits can undermine its integrity.

Match-fixing and other crimes in sport are a way for organized syndicates to generate high profits and launder their illegal proceeds, with limited risk of detection.

Tackling these issues requires national and international cooperation between sport, public authorities, betting regulators, the gambling industry and law enforcement. We help bring all these stakeholders together to counter crimes in sport.

INTERPOL Match-Fixing Task Force

The INTERPOL Match-Fixing Task Force (IMFTF) forms the focus of INTERPOL’s operational response in this area. It brings together law enforcement agencies around the world to tackle match-fixing and corruption in sport.

The Task Force has around 100 member units, with more than 150 National Points of Contact worldwide. It focuses on sharing experiences and best practices and acts as a platform for investigations and international case coordination.

The IMFTF supports member countries in criminal investigations and joint operations in all sports, and maintain a global network of investigators that share information, intelligence and best practices.

Specific tools developed by INTERPOL are available to law enforcement worldwide, dedicated to data collection on sport corruption (project ETICA) and financial crimes analysis (FINCAF).

Due to its global outreach, the IMFTF is uniquely placed to connect criminal investigative units in all INTERPOL member countries, relevant Integrity Units from the main International Sporting Federations and dedicated monitoring services to unite the efforts to counter any wrongdoing in sport.

In recent years, cooperation frameworks have also been established to protect major sporting events from criminal exploitation.

INTERPOL Match-Fixing Task Force

Contact us for operational support or further information on our activities.

Tackling soccer gambling

Operation SOGA (SOccer GAmbling) targets illegal gambling, match fixing and related money laundering activities. It is a regular fixture timed to coincide with major international soccer events. Suspicious bookmakers, punters, and money launderers are identified following detailed analysis and intelligence exchange, and are arrested in a simultaneous crackdown, hitting criminal syndicates hard.

SOGA IX was carried out from November 2022 to January 2023, under the auspices of INTERPOL’s Joint Task Force for the World Cup Qatar 2022.

19 countries participated in the global coordinated effort, leading to 1,200 arrests and the following seizures:

  • USD 2 million in seized funds
  • USD 76 million in digital betting records
  • Computers, mobile phones, credit cards, luxury cars, jewellery and handbags

Investigators identified several trends, such as a confirmed preference for online betting, lower amounts being wagered to avoid detection, and that men under 40 were considered the typical profile to watch.

INTERPOL’s nine SOGA operations have resulted in 20,300 arrests, seizures of USD 64 million in cash, the closure of some 4,000 illegal gambling dens which handled more than USD 7.3 billion worth of bets. Additionally, administrative sanctions imposed for illegal gambling activities so far amount to EUR 4.5 million.

Operation SOGA IX
Operation SOGA IX
Operation SOGA IX
“Online betting platforms have brought an international dimension to soccer gambling and are often located in countries with few regulations on sports betting, presenting additional challenges for police.”

Building capacity for police and sport

INTERPOL carries out a joint capacity building and training project with the International Olympic Committee to combat competition manipulation. The project offers tailored training courses, workshops and webinars for law enforcement, government agencies, sports, betting operators and regulators, to address competition manipulation and create a global network of practitioners.

Law enforcement investigators training

This training provides law enforcement with the skills to investigate competition manipulation, focusing on transnational investigations, evidence collection and evaluation, betting monitoring and analysis, working with sports, and the key role of the IMFTF members.

Sport investigators training

This training develops capacity in sport organizations to investigate and sanction competition manipulation. It focuses on investigative techniques typical of police work such as interview skills and information collection and evaluation, but also the monitoring and analysis of sports betting.

Integrity in sport workshops and webinars

These workshops bring together national and regional stakeholders including law enforcement agencies, prosecution services of some countries and sports organizations to raise awareness and identify best practices. Amongst key objectives, the INTERPOL- International Olympic Committee (IOC) workshops assess breaches of sport integrity, sports betting developments and global crime trends in competition manipulation.

Central to these workshops is the promotion of capacity building and cooperation at all levels. They also provide a forum for knowledge exchange on tools and services to prevent, detect and investigate sports corruption.

Integrity in sport workshop - Buenos Aires, Argentina, September 2023.
Integrity in sport workshop - Buenos Aires, Argentina, September 2023.
Integrity in sport workshop - Skopje, Macedonia, October 2022.
Integrity in sport workshop - Skopje, Macedonia, October 2022.

Media monitoring

We monitor media on competition manipulation and compile an overview of open source reports on investigations, sanctions, sentences, best practices, modus operandi and new developments in a specialist bi-weekly newsletter for practitioners. Please contact the Integrity in Sport team if you wish to subscribe to it.

We welcome submissions on best practices, major developments, new trends and relevant articles for publication in the bulletin.


Integrity in Sport

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