ESSA flags tennis and football in integrity report

ESSA flags tennis and football in integrity reportThe European Sports Security Association (ESSA) has highlighted tennis and football as the two sports that generated the most unusual betting patterns during 2013.

In its ESSA Integrity Report 2014, the organisation recorded 148 unusual betting patterns, with an additional 30 alerts found to be suspicious and subsequently referred to the relevant sporting and regulatory authorities.

Of the alerts registered in 2013, 44% were in relation to tennis while 38% referred to unusual betting in football.

Snooker was the next highest sport, having accumulated 3.5% of all alerts in the last year.

A betting pattern is only confirmed as suspicious after the ESSA has made detailed enquiries with its members to eliminate any prospect that the regular patterns could in fact be legitimate.

The ESSA also noted that suspicion does not necessarily mean corruption but that there is “sufficient concern based on detailed evidence to warrant further investigation by the relevant sport body or regulator”.

Following publication of the report, the ESSA identified five policy issues that need to be addressed if match-fixing is to be tackled in an effective matter.

The organisation recommended the continuation of its partnership approach in order to allow information sharing agreements with major sports bodies and national gambling regulators.

The ESSA also said player education is significant in combating match-fixing while targeting organised crime may also help tackle the issue.

In addition, the organisation also called for better sports governance to help fight corruption within sports competitions around the world.

The ESSA also suggested that match-fixing can be addressed by limiting the betting markets offered by licensed and regulated operators, and in particular what are known as ‘high-risk’ bets such as in-play betting.

“Firstly, corrupters actually seek to manipulate the more mainstream markets with higher liquidity, which clearly couldn’t be banned, and any attempt to do so would have the undesirable effect of pushing consumers towards the unregulated market, which is not transparent and virtually impossible to monitor,” the ESSA said in its report.

“Secondly, match-fixers bet primarily on unregulated markets which are not subject to any restrictions.

“There is no evidence to support limits in regulated batting market, which would be an unjustified restriction on trade, based on unsubstantiated integrity grounds.”

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