Integrisport 3.0 – Awareness raising practical session (ARPS) conducted in Vienna, Austria for law enforcement and judiciary on tackling sport manipulation

Vienna, Austria – The 3rd ARPS under the IntegriSport 3.0 umbrella was co-organized by CSCF in collaboration with our Austrian partner Play Fair Code, Austria – the National Association for ‘Integrity in Sport’. The event was held in close cooperation with the Austria Ministry of the Interior and the Criminal Intelligence Service Austria at the beautiful venue House of Sports (Haus des Sports) in Vienna, on 4th and 5th December, 2023.

Integrisport 3.0 is a project established to provide theoretical and practical support for law enforcement and judiciaries in the six program countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Romania, and Spain, co-financed by the European Union. The ARPS in Vienna was the third event under the present project and the 16th edition under the successful Integrisport program, which has reached nearly two-thirds of EU countries' law enforcement and judiciaries in the last 4.5 years. CSCF is dedicated to fortifying the integrity of sports and as coordinator and content provider for this ARPS, our commitment was further strengthened to develop the capacities of the stakeholders across Europe.

The training event was first of its kind in case of Austria where such a multi-stakeholder cooperation was created and a training event on topics related to sports manipulation and related crimes in sports was imparted to more than 45 investigators from across Austria, from multiple departments of the Criminal Intelligence Service Austria, prosecutors, and judicial officers.

The main goal of the event was to introduce the participants to the key topics related to possible crime in sports, for helping them get aware of the issues, to broaden their knowledge and allow them make connections to their own work with the possible sports manipulation issues, thereby positively contributing towards the preservation of sports integrity and to strengthen their fight against manipulation in sport.

The symposium, i.e., the Awareness Raising Practical Session (ARPS) was part of the IntegriSport 3.0 project and organized by CSCF Foundation for Sports Integrity, the coordinator and content experts of the project, along with Play Fair Code, Austria, the country partners of the project. The event saw more than 30 speakers, presenters and panelists, from Austria and also international experts, from diverse sectors to provide the best possible and most updated knowledge, which would help these police officers and investigators to understand better the multifaceted challenge of sport manipulation.

Among the notable keynote speakers of the event were Friedrich Stickler, President of Play Fair Code and Severin Moritzer, CEO of Play Fair Code, Norbert Rubicsek, Director CSCF Foundation for Sport Integrity, Ms. Martina Spreitzer-Kropiunik, Vice President Criminal Court Vienna, Johann Fuchs, Chief Public Prosecutor, Vienna, Franz Schwarzenbacher, Head of Unit Betting Fraud, Doping and Pharmaceutical Crime, Federal Criminal Police, Austria, Andreas Baumgartner, Integrity Officer, Austrian Football Federation (ÖFB), Austrian ambassador for IntegriSport 3.0 – Manuel Ortlechner, former player of the Austrian National football team and currently Sporting Director FK Austria Wien and several prominent other speakers from Austrian and international organizations like FIFPRO, ULIS, Malta Police Force, National Police of Spain, Basketball Austria, the European Handball Federation, the Austrian eSport Federation, NADA Austria, Austrian betting operators and several others.

It was interesting to hear Mr. Franz Schwarzenbacher, who emphasized the event's significance, stating, "It was a perfect opportunity for us to spread knowledge, expertise and know-how with our colleagues from all around Austria. Sharing the various investigation approaches is key for both, raising awareness and a robust understanding of the issue.”

Adding to the above, Ms. Barbara Pusca, Head of Sub-Department Training, Knowledge and Information Management, Criminal Intelligence Service Austria said, Our cooperation with the Play Fair Code is a new approach for us and clearly adds value to our training and education efforts for our colleagues. We saw a series of very interesting presentations and panels with a national and international perspective towards the huge problem of match fixing in the world of sport.”

CSCF Foundation for Sport Integrity, the driving strength behind this unique initiative, has consistently championed the cause of sports integrity. CSCF boasts its strength in facilitating the creation of opportunities in sports, for effective and innovative programs and partnerships. CSCF partners with organizations around the world to provide complex and high quality education and training to sport organizations, and law enforcement, judiciaries, ministries, and other such transnational organizations on multiple integrity issues, as well as on effective investigations, whistle blowing systems etc. Our commitment to this noble effort acknowledges the importance of collective action to effectively combat manipulation within the world of sports around the world.

Reinforcing CSCF’s principals, Norbert Rubicsek, CSCF Foundation for Sport Integrity ‘s Director, shared his insights, stating, “To combat sports manipulation and crime in sports, it requires complex actions and cooperation from all the involved stakeholders. Sports need support to counteract fixers infiltrating it, and this support should come from law enforcement, judiciaries, as well as other stakeholders in the domain. This is one of the main objectives of the IntegriSport 3.0. project: understanding and supporting each other.”

Play Fair Code CEO, Severin Moritzer noted that: “With a twelve years national and international track record and expertise in the fight against match fixing and for integrity in sport, IntegriSport 3.0 and the training for and with a core group of Police investigators simply is a perfect fit.”

The two-day symposium explored the diverse challenges associated with sports manipulation and crimes within the sports realm, not just of Austria but across Europe and beyond. Additionally, a key aim was to promote collaboration at both national and international levels, acknowledging the necessity for a unified approach to address this global issue. The ARPS marks a significant step forward in the continuous effort to protect the integrity of sports in Austria. As experts and influencers come together, there is a renewed optimism for a future where sports continue to embody fair play and honest competition, inspiring generations to come.

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Disclaimer: The project is funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or EACEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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