Integriball Erasmus Plus – keep sport clean for youth and female footballers

“Integrity, the choice between what is convenient and what is right” Tony Dungy

Integrity is a vital part of sport. It helps to guide us to keep sport clean and ensures the natural joy of athletes in performing on the sports field and that of the fans around the pitch. However, we need to work hard to ensure the integrity of sport. Anyone connected to a sports competition needs to learn, understand and apply the rules, including the rules of integrity. Once we understand why rules must be respected, we understand why it is important to work hard to protect its integrity – to protect careers, to protect the unpredictability of nature and to protect the business of sport.

It is important to understand: the rules of integrity are for, not against us!

While football is one of the sports which is frequently threatened by opportunists, and senior male football players are provided more and more education on the dangers of sport manipulation (match- fixing), younger athletes and female players are still generally behind in receiving this knowledge and understanding the threats, the approaches and the impacts. This was proven by interviews of multiple national team and club players across a section of Europe, who often themselves believed that they could not be targets, given the lower media attention they receive. However, as the pandemic showed, lower level and less visible leagues are attractive exactly because of the lower media attention, lower salaries, and lower level of awareness.

These concerns convinced the CSCF Foundation for Sport Integrity, together with the support of 4 federations: the Czech Republic Football Association (FACR), the Malta Football Association (MFA), the Hellenic Football Federation and the Royal Belgium Football Association (RBFA); one players’ union, the Pancyprian Footballers Association (PASP), two institutional partners, GMLS and Ghent University, and two supporting partners, UEFA and the Council of Europe, to develop and implement Integriball Erasmus+, a 2-year project, which provided support to two of the most vulnerable members of the football family: grassroots and female footballers.

The objective of this 2-year project was to “provide customised and dedicated education programmes, focusing on the protection of grassroot footballers (adolescents – U16-18) and female footballers in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece and Malta, from threats of sport manipulation through understanding, awareness and knowledge of approaches, consequences and procedures available to them. This awareness and the guidelines were also adapted to coaches and administrative staff of the participating country federations.We have come a long way since the beginning of 2020, which was not eased by the onset and continued presence of COVID-19. Nonetheless, I am proud to share that we were able to:

– Build knowledge in the participating countries, together with representatives of the participating countries, as proven by surveys prior to, during and after the sessions.

– Develop a knowledge-based useful product which was eventually tailor-made to the sport manipulation situation, level of awareness, actual situation and educational needs of each football federation/football players’ union of Belgium, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece and Malta; to provide these education tools in the countries to footballers and also prepare future trainers (train-the-trainers), who would be able to further deliver the knowledge for the youth and female footballers in their countries and sustain and transfer know-how.

– Give the opportunity to the motivated persons of our respective countries to make the future generations more cautious about what happens around them and help them to play a clean game and contribute positively to society.

I truly believe that the outputs, that were developed meticulously and delivered widely, will help to prepare not only the participating federation and union football players to be very successful, cautious and knowledgeable sportsmen and sportswomen, but they can also be transferred beyond these countries, thus benefiting the wider society of Europe and beyond.

As the director of CSCF Foundation for Sport Integrity, and the co-ordinator of Integriball Erasmus+, I would like to warmly thank the hard work of the partners of Integriball, as well as the supporting partners, UEFA and the Council of Europe. I would like to especially thank the contribution of the integrity officers of the involved federations, the president of the Cypriot Players’ Union and his team, the experts of CSCF, our ambassadors, all the interviewees of our research and last, but not least, the boys and girls and senior female football players who participated and will continue to participate in the training sessions of Integriball Erasmus+.

You are truly making a difference.

We stand against manipulations in sports.

Yours in sporting integrity,

Norbert Rubicsek


Awareness Raising Session – Sweden

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.

Session development

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).


Awareness Raising Session – Estonia

We have finished our first session of the IntegriSport Next Erasmus Plus Awareness Raising session in Estonia!

The IntegriSport Next project has officially started the implementation phase of the project with the Awareness Raising Session for law enforcement officers, judicial authorities of Estonia and other important stakeholders on all aspects of manipulation of sports competitions.

This time, the session was host by the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board and co-organised by CSCF-Foundation for Sport Integrity in the framework of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. 

During the 2-day event, participants discussed the topics of sport manipulation (match-fixing) related to crime investigations and prosecution activities in Estonia and engaged in a lively exchange on good practices on fighting the phenomenon.  The session not only focused on a knowledge transfer, but also actively facilitated national and international cooperation-building to maximise immersion and impact.

Internationally recognised experts in the field of combating sports manipulations from various organisations also contributed to the success of the event through concrete presentations, as well as different speakers from other organisations. All of them participated with face-to-face or online presentations.

On the first day, speakers included representatives from project partner organisations such as the Estonian Police and Border Guard, the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) and CSCF experts, as well as special participation from FIFPRO as the project’s supporting partner.

Moreover, representatives from guest organisations also actively took part in the event by giving insights into the situation in the country, including the Estonian Football Association, the Estonian Center for Integrity in Sport (ETCIS), the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Interior of Estonia.

The first day closed with the presentation of the Council of Europe on the Macolin Convention and international cooperation in the fight against sport manipulation.

On the second day, representatives of Law Enforcement, Judicial Authorities, ministries, and the Estonian Center for Integrity in Sport (ETCIS) shared good practices in the investigation and detection of cases of manipulation of national and international sports competitions.

Among the participants on the second day were our project partners the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board and the Finnish Center for Integrity in Sport (FINCIS) and representatives of key organisations and speakers with a history of experience in the domain of manipulation for sport competitions, which includes INTERPOL, the Prosecution Service of Hungary, and the Judicial Police of Portugal.

At the end of the session, the peer-to-peer meeting was held for members of Law Enforcement and Judicial Authorities in order to develop the capacity and cooperation in their investigation and prosecution techniques in sports manipulation cases.

“Great to be part of IntegriSport Next, since in Estonia sports manipulations are sometimes quite unknown and underground and we are interested in every type of solution, so, thank you for this project and all the support to fight against manipulation in sport.” Remo Perli – Estonian Police Border Guard Board

“I was really happy to see the Estonian stakeholders starting to have a discussion or to continue the discussion on how to fight against sports manipulations.”

Norbert Rubicsek – CSCF Foundation for Sport Integrity

It was a great session full of inspiring points of view and good energy from all the participants who were very open to learn how to act and what steps to take to fight against sports manipulations in Estonia.

The next awareness raising session will be held in Finland in November 2021.


Awareness Raising Session – Finland

A session built on trust and cooperation

On November 2, 3, and 4, the Awareness Raising Session in Finland, hosted by the Finnish Center for Integrity in Sports (FINCIS) and coordinated by CSCF – Foundation for Sport Integrity, had exceptional participation and active collaboration from more than 40 participants that met to debate and understand the phenomenon of sport manipulation in the framework of IntegriSport Erasmus+ within the EU co-funded project.

The feeling during the session was built on trust and cooperation from the different participants to raise awareness and level up the support and identify the biggest threats against integrity in sport and to work towards the same goal: keeping the sport safe and clean.

During the 3-day session, the members of the different organisations had an open discussion on the manipulation of sports competitions (match-fixing) related to criminal investigations and prosecution activities and how this phenomenon has been affecting Finland. Also, recognised experts and members participated in the session with different presentations sharing experience, knowledge, and views regarding the current situation, plans, strategies, and practices related to these issues in the country and Europe.

Session development

On the first day, participants from sport organisations such as IntegriSport Next E+ experts from CSCF Foundation for Sport Integrity and the Finnish Center for Integrity in Sports – FINCIS held presentations about the general description of the manipulation of sports competitions, national case studies, and national policy in Finland.

The second day was open to all interested parties, and it was an opportunity to share the project’s findings during the preparation phase and national and international perspectives about the manipulation of sports competitions from the CSCF Foundation for Sport Integrity director and its group of experts, the Police Board of Finland, the Global Lottery Monitoring System – GLMS as project partner, as well as FIFPRO, as a supporting project partner. In addition, key local speakers included representatives from Veikkaus, Urheiluvedonlyöjät, Football Players Association of Finland, and the Prosecution District of Southern Finland.

“Finland has been forward thinking regarding fighting and preventing sport manipulation whether it is about investigation, education or cooperation since the famous investigation, JIT VETO. The Finnish experts were involved in the drafting procedure of the Macolin Convention, established FINCIS as the first response organisation on sport integrity and Finland also has a very active national platform. On behalf of IntegriSport Next, I am glad to support the Finnish stakeholders’ effort in combating match-fixing and provide knowledge on the phenomenon for a second time after the very successful Integrisport Erasmus+ project.” Norbert Rubicsek J.D. Director – CSCF Foundation for Sport Integrity

On the third and last day, a day dedicated only for representatives of Law Enforcement, Judicial Authorities, and other stakeholders from the public sector, we had the participation of the National Bureau of Investigation explaining the challenges and learnings from the JIT VETO case and the Spanish Football Federation sharing experiences from a specific case study. Both cases gave a well-rounded perspective of the different procedures and approaches in the fight against this phenomenon.

Following those presentations, at the end of the day, a peer-to-peer meeting was held. It was an ideal space which served as a scenario to share good practices and openly debated with the participants in a round table their point of view regarding investigation and detection of cases of manipulation of national and international sports competitions. For this meeting, we had representatives with extensive experience in the field including: 

·      @NBI: Arttu Granat, Detective Sergeant

·      Finnish Center for Integrity in Sports: Jouko Ikonen, Chief Investigative Officer

·      Spanish Football Federation: Alfredo Lorenzo, Integrity and Security Director

·      INTERPOL: Claudio Marinelli – Criminal Intelligence Officer

·      CSCF Foundation for Sport Integrity: Norbert Rubicsek – Director 

“According to the situation picture about combatting the manipulation of sports competitions we published earlier this year, the things requiring the most improvement in Finland are recognising and monitoring the manipulation of sports competitions. Through this training, we will enhance the cooperation between sports and authorities and improve the participants’ ability to recognise the risks of manipulating sports competitions,” says Jouko Ikonen, FINCIS Chief Investigative Officer.

Finally, as an example of one of the objectives of IntegriSport Next Erasmus+ to serve as an instrument to promote cooperation between partners and their different stakeholders, we had the pleasure of receiving Mr. Henn Vallimäe and Mr. Kalle Roos, CEO and Coordinator (matchfixing), respectfully, of the Estonian Center for Integrity in Sports (ESTCIS). ESTCIS participated during the Estonian ARS organised by our partner, the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board, and have now taken part in the Finnish session to learn and exchange knowledge on this topic.

It should be noted that ESTCIS grants a legal establishment to the National Contact Point (NCP) when it comes to sports manipulation cases. They have been a part of the Copenhagen Group since 2020 and it is said that soon the ESTCIS will be the coordinator of the National Platform.

We appreciate the interactive session and inclusion from all the participants who were part of this activity in Finland.

The next Awareness Raising Session will be held in Sweden on November 24 and 25, 2021.


Cooperation CSCF and FIAS International Sambo Federation

FIAS and CSCF Consulting are working together to raise awareness on fighting sports manipulations amongst sambists, SAMBO sports personnel and sports managers.​

The International SAMBO Federation and CSCF Consulting have signed a 3-year contract to develop an educational program on fighting sports manipulations (match-fixing) in order to strengthen the integrity of SAMBO. The educational program will be available to the 116 National SAMBO Federations in America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania where SAMBO has a presence.

During the next 3 years, we will be developing different action plans, events, training, and programs in order to provide a comprehensive education on sports manipulations for athletes and sports personnel of SAMBO.

Internationally recognized experts in the field of combating sports manipulations from various organizations will contribute to the success of the different activities.

“It is important to prepare the athletes to be able to stand up against manipulation in sport and to keep the sport clean, fair, and unpredictable.” – said by Michal Buchel, CEO of FIAS.

“I believe that education is the best way to have a better understanding of integrity issues especially manipulations in sports competitions (match-fixing)” – said Norbert Rubicsek, Managing Partner of CSCF Consulting.

The cooperation between both parties will bring exceptional work for combating these issues, provide a better understanding, and tackle the dangers of sports manipulations in sport in order to create a safe environment for the athletes.

The first activities will be held soon, stay connected.