The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has reported a 35% year-on-year decrease in suspicious alerts related to sporting corruption in 2023.
The IBIA, which identifies potential sports corruption through detecting suspicious betting activity, received 184 alerts in 2023. This was a significant decrease on 2022’s revised number of 285.
The IBIA accounts for over $137bn (£108bn/€126bn) of global betting turnover per annum, making it the largest operator-run integrity monitoring body.
Football and tennis were the sports most affected, with 63 and 54 alerts respectively. While tennis alerts have decreased over the last five years, football alerts have now risen for the last three years.
Europe was the area with the most alerts in 2023, accounting for 61% of reports. The UK had the most alerts with 31, while the Czech Republic was second with 18. Brazil and Spain tied for third with 11.
The IBIA’s work saw 74 matches proven to be corrupt, with 21 sanctions handed out. Of the 21, eight were tennis players while seven were tennis umpires. Despite football’s prevalence in its reports, the IBIA’s work only helped to sanction one football club.
Khalid Ali, IBIA chief executive, said: “The fall in last year’s global alert numbers is encouraging.
“It confirms that our world leading monitoring and alert network is making a very important contribution to deterring criminals from seeking to defraud our members and that increased collaboration between IBIA, sports and regulators is a winning combination.
“Despite this progress, we must remain vigilant and recognise that the greatest threat to sports integrity comes from unregulated operators, most notably in Asia.”
Sport sanctions for corruption
The IBIA’s report comes after a busy start to the New Year for the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA). On Tuesday, the ITIA handed down a provisional suspension to Bosnian official Damjan Dejanovic.
Dejanovic is the latest to face charges for breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme (TACP), after the ITIA banned Bulgarian official Stefan Milanov for 16 years earlier this month. They found him guilty of a series of corruption offences for five matches he umpired in 2021.
The ITIA also banned French player Leny Mitjana for 10 years after finding him guilty of corruption and match-fixing offences. The case was linked to a recently concluded criminal case involving a match-fixing syndicate in Belgium.
Syndicate leader Grigor Sargsyan was recently convicted and handed a five-year custodial sentence. This followed a joint effort between the ITIA and Belgian authorities.
In mid-January, the ICC banned Bangladesh cricketer Nasir Hossain from all cricket for two years after breaching the Emirates Cricket Board’s Anti-Corruption Code.
Marlon Samuels, a two-time T20 World Cup winner with the West Indies, also received a six-year ban from the ICC back in November for anti-corruption breaches.