The fourth Awareness Raising Session of the IntegriSport Next Erasmus+ project on combating sport manipulation (match-fixing) took place on the 5th and 6th of April in Nicosia, Cyprus, and was co-organized by the Cyprus Police together with CSCF – Sport Integrity Group.
The project is intended to increase the awareness of sport manipulation related to criminal investigations, enhance the cooperation among law enforcement authorities, the judiciary and the relevant stakeholders at national and international levels, and thereby improve the efficiency of discovery, investigation, prosecution, and prevention activities in the country.
In Cyprus, match-fixing is recognized as an important criminal and sporting issue that requires changes in order to improve the situation. In order to stimulate effective change, such as in regulation and legislation, awareness and education of the relevant stakeholders around this phenomenon are a necessity.
The event started with a series of welcoming speeches from key stakeholders of important organizations, such a Stylianos Papatheodorou – Chief of Cyprus Police, Norbert Rubicsek – the Director of CSCF Foundation for Sport Integrity, Charis Poyiatzis – the President of the National Ethics Committee, Mary Papamiltiadous – Cyprus Sports Organization, Savvas Angelides – Deputy Attorney General, Claudio Marinelli – INTERPOL, and Sophie Kwasny and Nicolas Sayde – the Council of Europe.
The representatives of the Cyprus Police, FIFPRO, and GLMS (Global Lottery Monitoring System) as partners of the project, and the National Ethics Committee, Cyprus Sports Organization, Cyprus Football Association, the Cyprus Police and a Foreign Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) as participants, had in-depth presentations and were provided with a comprehensive approach on how to combat sport manipulation and how to co-operate with domestic and international stakeholders to tackle the phenomenon in Cyprus.
“The cooperation between law enforcement and sports federations is always the best way to fight against sport manipulation. We at CSCF work hard to involve all the national and international stakeholders in this cooperation to build a better environment for sports.” Norbert Rubicsek – CSCF Director
On the first day, the session covered topics such as sport manipulation typology and the Macolin Convention, betting monitoring and policymaking at the international level, the role and approaches of the sport organizations, and a panel discussion that was held where different footballers shared their opinions and perspectives around match-fixing, and exposing real-life experiences and the ethics behind playing professional football. The players who participated in this discussion were: Savvas Poursaitides – Professional Football Coach of Category A Teams, Vangelis Kyriakou – Professional Football Player Olympiakos Nicosia FC, Neofytos Michael – Professional Goalkeeper APOEL Nicosia FC, Andria Kirkini – ex-International Football Player in women’s teams, and Nectarios Alexandrou – ex-Professional Player, Motivational Speaker, and Coach LFC – as moderator of the panel.
During the 2-day event, international and national participants discussed the sport manipulation and match-fixing situation in Cyprus and engaged in a lively exchange on good practices for fighting the phenomenon. Internationally recognized experts in the field of combating sports manipulations from various organizations also contributed to the success of the event through concrete presentations, including a CSCF expert on virtual currencies, and the participation of the Spanish General Judicial Police (CENPIDA).
“We can only tackle match-fixing if we all work together to bring awareness to the public and work among all the relevant stakeholders. Law enforcement investigations need to be supported by the society as a whole for the benefit of all.” Chryso Angeli – Deputy Director, Cyprus police
A peer-to-peer meeting, held at the end of the event, was dedicated to supporting law enforcement agencies and judicial authorities from Cyprus. The purpose of this meeting was to develop capacity and cooperation in Cypriot investigations and prosecution techniques in sports manipulation cases, as well as to improve the communication between sports federations, the Committee of Ethics and Safeguarding in Sport, the International Criminal Police Organization and gambling authorities in order to better understand the issue and find ways to create a safer environment for athletes and sports in the country.
The event concluded that education, information, and cooperation are key to effectively standing against the manipulation of competition in sports.
The next awareness-raising session will be held in Malta on April 26 and 27 of 2022. Stay tuned for more information.
To find out more please go to https://foundation.cscfsport.com/integrisport-next/