On April 26 and 27, 2022, CSCF Foundation for Sport Integrity, in coordination with hosting country partner Malta Police Force, executed the unprecedented local event (ARS) for law enforcement and prosecutors in the fight against the phenomenon of sports manipulation that brought over 50 participants.
This is one of six professional seminars that within the 2-year IntegriSport Next project focus on the prevention and concrete tackling methods of this sport integrity issue (match-fixing) from the perspective of Sport betting, Virtual currencies, Related criminal offences (corruption, fraud, money laundering), policy making and co-operation, primarily targeting not only law enforcement agencies but also judicial authorities.
Law enforcement agencies play a key role in combating the threats of manipulation of sports competition. The conceptual intent of organising such a seminar reflected the needs of police practice, with an emphasis on streamlining the exchange of knowledge, sharing best practices and strengthening the capacity of police forces to detect and investigate manipulation and integrity violations.
The professional seminar focuses on the prevention of this sport integrity issue of match-fixing) from the perspective of sport integrity. The session in Malta brought together leading experts and representatives not only from CSCF with expertise in the above topics, but also from the Malta Police Force, and representatives from leading national and international decision-making organizations in the fight against the manipulation of sports competitions (match-fixing) including:
Council of Europe
50 people came together on-site and online for an unprecedented event for the Malta Police Force and engaged in lively in-depth discussions with different voices and perspectives of law enforcement, judiciaries betting and sport on how to tackle this issue. It triggered a strengthening of relations between organizations that, although they have policies on the subject, rarely could “sit down” and interact in a format such as the one presented by the event.
“the Awareness Session of IntegriSport Next gave us the opportunity to bring together in one place all the main actors working directly or indirectly to combat this phenomenon, not only locally but also internationally, including CSCF, GLMS, CoE, Interpol and FIFPRO. Even tough we are a small country, this is a fact that rarely happens, and thanks to the project we had two full days where we all sat down and openly discussed policies, challenges, and possible solutions to a problem that we all recognized, however, with still many gaps that need coordinated actions”. said Inspector Anthony Scerri.
Moreover, in the same framework of the Awareness Raising Session, CSCF organized, together with its experts as well as representatives of the Authority for Integrity in Maltese Sport (AIMS), the coordinator of the Maltese National Platform, the Maltese Police Force, the Maltese Betting Authority and the Council of Europe, a parallel multilateral meeting on the future of national actions on fighting sport manipulation, cooperation and the role of the future Maltese National Platform in implementing measures of the Council of Europe Convention on Manipulations of Sports Competitions.
Notable current and former footballers also shared their experiences and needs with the law enforcement and judicial authorities present, including Samir Arab, former national team player, Andrei Agius, current national team captain, Andrea Cassar, and Carlo Mamo, President of the Maltese Players’ Union.
Moreover, the session made a vital contribution to the developments in Malta with a peer-to-peer meeting of several mational stakeholders, including prosecutors from Hungary, as well as international expertise from Interpol, former Europol sports corruption unit intelligence officer Norbert Rubicsek, and GLMS, in an exchange of best practices.
Exploring investigative techniques and collaborations on various topics
The two-day session was intense and touched on a plethora of topics, thanks to experts at national and international level. The primary goals were twofold: firstly, to allow for a sharing of each stakeholder’s perspective, together with contributions from international stakeholders, and secondly, to explore concrete next steps in collaboration and proposals for the building of Malta’s future national platform, Authority for Integrity in Maltese Sport.
Topics of discussion ranged from national international structures and legislation on the topic of sports manipulation, the practical implementation of legislation by law enforcement and judicial authorities in intelligence gathering and investigations, sports betting monitoring, analysis and information from the sports betting sector that could be useful for investigations and court, the growing popularity of virtual currencies and its exploitation to manipulate competitions and commit fraud, and finally collaborative exchanges in obtaining witnesses, reporting mechanisms and conducting disciplinary and criminal investigations.
The Integrisport Next project has been successfully running in its second phase, following the well-received first project (2019-2021), and has facilitated awareness-raising and collaboration directly and indirectly of at least 16 countries’ law enforcement and judiciary together with other private and public national stakeholders respectively, with the support of funding from the EU ERASMUS+ project and expertise of CSCF and other international project partners and supporters. The project always aims to be consistent and in line with other international initiatives and has been praised for its efforts. The closing conference of the project will be public and take place in October-November 2022 (exact date TBC).
Dr. Norbert Rubicsek, former Lt. Colonel at the Hungarian Police and CSCF Director, added “One of the objectives of IntegriSport Next is to enhance the collaboration between stakeholders of our partners in fighting against sport manipulation. The meeting with the Maltese stakeholders on the activities of the Maltese National Platform was a great example of this important point. We had a comprehensive exchange of thoughts and ideas on mutual operational measures against match-fixers. It was a pleasure and great experience to support the Maltese stakeholders in their fight against manipulation of sports competition.”
On behalf of IntegriSport Next E+, CSCF – Foundation for Sport Integrity, as the project coordinator, would like to extend a special thanks and appreciation to the guest speakers and project partners.
CSCF would like to thank all the organizations, participants, and speakers who were part of this event for their collaboration and contribution to making this possible.
The session in Malta was a success.
For more details and the full statement, please contact CSCF Team: firstname.lastname@example.org, +31 611880838, www.cscfsport.com