A stimulating exchange of thoughts and ideas on how to fight and prevent Match-Fixing in Sweden
IntegriSport Next has continued with its Awareness Raising Sessions (ARSs). This time, CSCF – Foundation for Sport Integrity co-organised the event with its project partner in Sweden, the Swedish Sports Confederation, which is responsible for combating all forms of sports manipulations in Sweden.
Being the last session of 2021 after successfully completing the ARSs of Estonia and Finland, the event took place in Stockholm on the 24th and 25th of November, where more than 70 people from the law enforcement, judiciary, sport, and betting sectors attended the workshop. The event sparked active debates and discussions about fighting and preventing sports manipulations.
Fulfilling the objective of the project, the session represented a unique opportunity to bring together Swedish law enforcement and judiciary authorities and all the Swedish and international actors who fight against this phenomenon in sport to share ideas, opinions, good practices, and ways to cooperate between them.
The two-day session was dedicated to giving to the participants a perspective of the situation of sport manipulation at the national and international level, with the participation of first-class speakers who presented their contributions on the following key topics:
- Sport integrity Sport betting
- Virtual currencies
- Related criminal offenses (corruption, fraud, money laundering)
- National and international co-operation and policymaking
Among the participant organisations, there were not only representatives from project partners but also other international and local institutions that play a crucial role in the field of sports manipulation, such as CSCF – Foundation for Sport Integrity, the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS), the Swedish Sports Confederation, FIFPRO, the Swedish Gambling Authority, Svenska Spel, the Swedish Players Union, the Swedish FA, the Finnish Center for Integrity in Sports (FINCIS), the Swedish Police Authority, the Prosecution Authority, and the Council of Europe and INTERPOL, as intergovernmental key stakeholders with an active and important work in the domain. Also, the first day had a very enlightening interview with Kenny Stamatopoulos, a former football player who had first-hand experience with match-fixing, who said no and reported it.
“The Swedish awareness-raising session was an engaging and fruitful workshop, where we, as GLMS, together with our local member, Svenska Spel, were able to share the basics of sports betting, what to look out for when collecting intelligence and preparing evidence, key issues in Sweden related to sports betting integrity and the importance of education and collaborative actions” said Cassandra Fernandes – Legal and Projects Manager of GLMS Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS)
“Addressing the manipulation issues of sport requires a multi-stakeholder effort. At the Swedish Sports Confederation, we want to have an impact on all those actors who can contribute in one way or another to combat this problem. Being involved in this project, we have the opportunity to meet with representatives of law enforcement, the judiciary, the sports movement, and the field of betting, all together raising awareness and understanding different points of view” said Jakob Uddeholt from Integrity Officer – Swedish Sports Confederation
The program of the second day was only for representatives of law enforcement, judicial authorities, and other stakeholders from the public sector with the aim of sharing good practices on how cases of manipulation of national and international sports competitions can be detected and investigated.
Following the latest trends in criminal activity, participants were able to follow two prominent presentations from the Swedish Cybercrime Center (SC3) and CSCF – Foundation for Sport Integrity on how cybercrime and virtual currencies are making their way into society and more specifically, in sports, creating new challenges for those who fight against this phenomenon.
Moreover, the Financial Intelligence Unit of Sweden shared a presentation based on a report on money laundering in the gaming sector in Sweden. This was a remarkable contribution that gave participants insight into the situation based on statistics and real examples of approaches to the issue of money laundering through the gaming sector.
The day was followed by INTERPOL’s intervention as well as the presentation of two specific case studies on the issue, the local AIK – IFK Gothenburg case and a Finnish case. The three interventions shared notable examples of good and bad practices from international investigations on the manipulations of sports, as well as the role of cooperation between organisations to successfully investigate this type of crime. With this part of the session, the participants received an inside look into how the investigation and prosecution of a real sport manipulation case happens, thus receiving important lessons to consider for the future.
The final part of the Awareness Raising Session was an activity that has been one of the pillars of this project, the international peer-to-peer meeting. This time it focused on how to collect and use information during investigations of cases of sports manipulations (match fixing). This was a one-off opportunity for law enforcement agencies and judicial authorities from Sweden to meet peers from other countries to develop the capacity and cooperation in their investigation and prosecution techniques in sports manipulation cases.
The panel in the meeting consisted of key players of the domain of sport integrity, including CSCF Director Norbert Rubicsek, Claudio Marinelli from Interpol, Cassandra Fernandes, Chris Yaakoubian and Benoit Borsato from GLMS, Jouko Ikonen from FINCIS as well as representatives from the Swedish Police, Swedish Prosecution, Svenska Spel and the Swedish FA. What followed was a stimulating exchange of thoughts and ideas on how to develop capacity and cooperation in their investigations and prosecution techniques in sports manipulation cases.
“Sharing information between stakeholders is one of the key tools in fighting sport manipulation, so discussions such as these provide great value to the cause not only of the IntegriSport Next project, but also to the partners such as CSCF [Foundation for Sport Integrity] and our partners’ stakeholders”, said Norbert Rubicsek, Director of CSCF – Foundation for Sport Integrity.
And with this, the Awareness Raising Sessions have concluded for 2021, with our next three sessions being held next year in Georgia (February), Cyprus (March), and Malta (April).