ESSA launch new anti-fixing campaign

essa-match-fixing-campaignA group comprising some of the European market’s largest online betting operators has launched a new campaign to stamp out match-fixing.

On Wednesday, the European Sports Security Association (ESSA) announced a new campaign to “Kick Crime Out of Sport.” Secretary general Khalid Ali said the 18-month project marked the latest plank in ESSA stakeholders’ efforts to reduce the capacity of criminal elements to negatively impact sports integrity.

The project will see ESSA members, which include over a dozen prominent UK and European betting operators, teaming with global police INTERPOL, the International Olympic Committee and regulatory authorities in England and France to raise awareness of criminals’ efforts to tamper with sporting events for personal profit.

Specifically, the campaign will include developing a Handbook on Good Practices for both operators and governments, helping to craft legislation and regulations so that authorities have the capacity to deal with fixers and developing proper networks for the collection and dissemination of fixing information.

ESSA’s announcement comes just days after the tennis world was rocked by yet more allegations of tampering. Already reeling from allegations of fixing at tennis’ highest levels, this week brought allegations that some International Tennis Federation umpires had deliberately delayed reporting lower-tier match data to Sportradar in order to allow bettors to place wagers before Sportradar’s bookmaker clients could adjust heir odds accordingly.

Cynics will view the timing of ESSA’s announcement as damage control, which it is, but not for the reason these cynics might cite. The damage to tennis’ reputation notwithstanding, as observed above, it was the bookies that stood to lose anything tangible from any tampering with Sportradar data. Seeking to maintain the integrity of sport isn’t just good PR, it’s good business.