A 48 percent increase in suspicious betting reports from 2019 to 2020 has been reported by the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), with a 25 percent increase in football alone.
A total of 270 cases covering 43 countries and 15 different sports were registered, with 68 occurring in the first quarter. In 2019, this is contrary to 183 studies, which were primarily attributed to table tennis and esports.
This brings the total number to 986 warnings reported across 17 sports and 95 countries for the four-year period of 2017-2020.
Khalid Ali, CEO of IBIA explained: “2020 was a turbulent year for many sectors including the betting industry, which had to adjust its market offering due to the global sports lockdown.
“As a result, IBIA focused its integrity monitoring activity to take account of new sports tournaments and competitions that emerged.”
Tennis and football
At 98 and 61 respectively, tennis and football saw the highest number of warnings, accounting for 59 percent of the alerts, although this was actually a decrease of 82 percent from the 2019 figure. Of the football reports, 10 originated in Vietnam.
In the meantime, 39 of the 98 tennis reports were handled as intelligence reports by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), since they were unrelated to major events sanctioned by world tennis touring bodies. Some players participating in these events, however, will come under the control of the ITIA Anti-Corruption Tennis Programme (TACP).
Notable tennis players and officials sanctioned for betting offenses in 2020 include Dagmara Baskova from Slovakia, David Rocher from France and Karen and Yuri Khachatryan from Bulgaria.
Fines and bans
Of the players or teams identified for suspicious betting conduct, 12 received the IBIA’s sporting or criminal fines, with some lifetime bans being served.
Ali added: “The association is seeking to work with stakeholders to address any potential integrity issues that may be associated with these new events through a range of actions, including promoting a set of standards for the collation of sports data for betting.
“Whilst there was an increase in overall alerts from 2019 to 2020, it should be noted that the 2020 cases are consistent with the number of alerts reported in both 2017 and 2018.”