Starlizard Integrity Services (SIS), the specialist integrity arm of sports betting consultancy Starlizard, identified 79 suspicious football matches worldwide during the first half of 2023.

The matches flagged represent 0.48% of the total 16,336 games analysed by SIS in the six months to 30 June. The figure was slightly lower than the 84 matches identified in the first half of 2022.

Matches are categorised as suspicious when they are found to have suspect betting patterns associated with them. This, SIS said, may be a sign of match-fixing.

Of the games reported, 40 took place within the Uefa confederation region, which covers all of Europe. A further 11 were flagged in Conmebol’s South American region.

Some 24 different countries had at least one alert in a domestic men’s competition. SIS also noted that leagues below the top division accounted for 61% of all alerts raised in H1.

A total of 11 games were “international” matches, which are classed as not falling within a specific country or confederation region. These include international games, cross-border club competitions and club friendly matches.

Match-fixing hangs over football

“These statistics show that suspicious betting activity and the spectre of match-fixing continue to hang over football and are not about to go away,” SIS head Affy Sheikh said.

“The fact that we’ve seen similar levels of suspicion over the past three years, serves to emphasise that concerted ongoing efforts and stronger collaboration among anti-corruption stakeholders are required to tackle this persistent problem in the beautiful game.”

Sheikh also spoke about concerns over more specialised markets, such as first half only betting. Some 21 of the matches flagged in H1 were due to suspicious betting patterns in this market.

This highlights the variety of markets in which attempts at match manipulation may occur,” he said. “Unfortunately, the increase in integrity alerts from lower domestic leagues again demonstrates the vulnerability of those involved in lower-funded leagues and competitions where continued vigilance and education are of utmost importance.”

Starlizard’s new integrity alert system

The latest report comes after SIS in March launched a new online integrity alert system for sports governing bodies and enforcement agencies.

Available free of charge, Komodo flags suspicious matches to relevant organisations around the world. The system provides them with an analysis of betting market activity and on-field performances.

Komodo is initially covering football, with cricket and other sports to follow soon.

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