2021 was the year that confirmed that match-fixing was as big a problem in sport as it ever was. Some 903 suspicious matches in 10 different sports in 76 different countries have been detected by Sportradar Integrity Services.
This figure represents the highest number ever recorded in our 17-year history of betting monitoring and match-fixing detection, and illustrates the growing threat across the world as match-fixers diversify into many new sports, competitions and locations, even threatening areas with no history of match fixing.
Sportradar already officially monitors several Indian sports competitions: the Indian Premier League, the Indian Super League, the Tamil Nadu Premier League, the Pro Kabaddi League and the Pro Volleyball League. These events are monitored by our Universal Fraud Detection System (UFDS), an advanced and proven betting monitoring system, which enables our global team of qualified integrity experts to analyze and report anomalies in the betting market. .
In 2021, we detected 13 suspicious matches being played in India, many of them outside of our official monitoring. Ten of these were regional state league football matches, which is consistent with the growing global trend of lower tier competitions being targeted for manipulation, as 50% of suspicious football matches in national leagues were from the third level or lower in 2021 globally.
These smaller leagues and competitions often lack the financial strength and resources to implement key integrity protections, making them more vulnerable to illicit approaches. It’s a trend that is set to continue well into 2022 as more leagues reappear after Covid-19 cancellations and postponements, providing more vulnerable targets for match-fixing.
There were also three suspicious tennis matches in India in 2021, and the three players found to be complicit were Indian players. By nature, tennis is a touring sport, with tournaments taking place in various locations every week, which means there is no significant integrity issue with Indian tennis. in itself. However, as no suspicious tennis matches have been detected in India in the previous two years, witnessing suspicious matches involving three different local players suggests that this could aggravate the problem both for the country and for Sport.
Although cricket is the number one sport in India, both in terms of popularity and global interest in Indian sports betting, no suspicious matches have been detected in Indian cricket in 2021. betting activity observed in world cricket in recent years, with nine suspicious matches detected in 2021 and four detected so far this year.
India’s unregulated betting market is at the forefront of cricket betting activity, and heightened vigilance is needed as interest in betting continues to rise, even for lower tier competitions, where players may be considered softer targets due to lower in-game salaries.
It can be said with confidence that sport – and therefore sports betting – in India will only grow due to the continued development of Indian sport from a business perspective alongside the number of new leagues and tournaments being established. .
For the integrity of these competitions to be maintained, it is essential that the major stakeholders in Indian sport continue to take proactive measures. The increase in suspicious matches from lower levels of competitions further shows how all levels of Indian sport need protection for our sporting landscape to thrive.
The author is director of sports content and partnerships, Sportradar
May 12, 2022