Suspicious betting trends in global football broadcasts drop year on year

Stats Perform Integrity and Starlizard Integrity Services have released their third annual Suspicious Betting Trends in Global Football Report.

The report aims to provide fellow stakeholders in the sports integrity community with a meaningful and informative overview of current trends in suspicious football betting.

This year’s report is based on a review of over 80,000 matches played throughout 2019; that is 30% more matches than in the previous year’s report.

Although the same methodology has been applied, the percentage of matches identified as having suspicious betting patterns has decreased from 0.61% to 0.56%.

This report showed that the number of suspicious women’s matches remains very low, with just five played in 2019 down from six the previous year. The heightened media profile of women’s football has contributed to increasing amounts staked on women’s matches in betting markets. Despite this, the potential for larger profits from betting on women’s football did not lead to an increase in suspicious women’s matches.

Suspicious matches involving national teams rose to 1.53% of all those reviewed in 2019, from 1.01% the previous year. One national men’s team were involved in four suspicious matches out of the 13 matches they played during 2019. However, suspicious matches involving clubs from different countries decreased from 0.93% to 0.65% year-on-year.

There is a clear trend of higher proportions of suspicious matches taking place on weekdays. Matches played on Monday to Friday made up fewer than 40% of all those reviewed from 2019, but almost 60% of all suspicious matches. The proportion of suspicious matches played on Wednesdays in 2019 was almost three times that of Saturdays.

The report shows that friendlies continue to be over-represented for suspicious matches. Suspicious club friendly matches have doubled from those played in 2018 and are back at a similar level to 2017. Of the 24 suspicious club friendlies played in 2019, 15 took place in January or February.

The report was compiled after analysing data from 80,939 football matches played in 2019, including domestic and international competitions across 115 countries and six continents.

Betting markets (Asian Handicap, 1X2 and Total Goals markets) relating to football matches played in 2019 were first analysed separately by Stats Perform Integrity and Starlizard Integrity Services.

Analysts from both companies then shared findings on suspicious matches prior to a quality assurance process between both companies that resulted in a consensus on each match. The outcome of this analysis was 456 matches across the globe identified with suspicious betting patterns.

This report looks in detail at these matches and compares the findings to those from previous years. The report, once again, examines the geographical hotbeds of suspicious activity, breaks down suspicious matches by level and competition, and looks in detail at youth, international, friendly and women’s matches.

Jake Marsh, global head of integrity, Stats Perform, said: “This is the third year we have published this report and the depth of analysis has increased once again. A concerted effort has been made to analyse the largest tranche of data possible to help raise awareness of specific areas and to get under the skin of suspicious betting patterns. Match-fixing is a sensitive and complex issue and this report is intended to contribute to the overall understanding of what is arguably the greatest threat to the heart of football’s integrity.”

Affy Sheikh, head of Starlizard Integrity Services, added: “Although the percentage of matches identified as suspicious has fallen, it is important that the football world remains alert to integrity threats at all levels of the game, particularly with the additional financial challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. In producing this report, a vast amount of data has been analysed in order to provide sports and integrity stakeholders with detailed intelligence on suspicious betting patterns across many different competitions and countries. Indeed, we believe the Global Report 2020 to be the most comprehensive publicly-available assessment on suspicious football matches to date.”

Please read the full report here.

Subscribe and Get SVG Europe Newsletters