Potential match-fixing has been detected in more than 1,100 sports matches since April 2020, according to research conducted by a global sports technology company.
Sportradar Integrity Services, a partner to more than 100 sporting federations and leagues, has used its betting monitoring system, the Universal Fraud Detection System (UFDS), to find suspicious activity across 12 sports in more than 70 countries. The findings date back to the start of the pandemic, with 655 of the matches detected in the first nine months of 2021.
According to Sportradar’s figures, football is the sport most at risk of corruption linked to betting. The UFDS technology has flagged 500 suspicious football matches this year. Almost 40% of those matches reported within domestic competitions were found in third-tier leagues and below, with youth football also targeted by matchfixers.
The rising popularity of esports has also made it an increasingly popular target. More than 70 suspicious matches across five different game titles have been detected by the UFDS since April 2020. More than 40 of those were detected in 2021.
The UFDS also detected suspicious activity in 37 tennis matches, 19 basketball matches, 11 table tennis matches, nine ice hockey matches and six cricket matches. Volleyball, handball, and beach volleyball were also flagged as problem areas.
Europe was the region hardest hit by corruption, with 382 suspicious matches detected this year. Latin America had 115 matches, Asia Pacific 74, Africa 43, the Middle East 10 and North America nine.
Sportadar has published its findings as it begins delivering the UFDS free of charge to sporting authorities around the world in an attempt to protect sporting integrity.
Andreas Krannich, managing director of integrity services at Sportradar said: “As our analysis shows, match-fixing is evolving, and those behind it are diversifying their approach, both in the sports and competitions they target, and the way they make approaches to athletes, such as the rise in digital approaches.
“To help address this, Sportradar has made a significant investment to make it possible to offer the UFDS for free to global sports organisations and leagues. The reason for this is that we are committed to supporting the sustainability of global sports and using data and technology for good.”