FIFA App Lets Players Report Suspected Match-Fixing
Posted on: September 13, 2020, 05:08h.
Last updated on: September 13, 2020, 01:59h.
FIFA will soon provide its professional players an app to report possible football match-fixing. The smartphone app’s release comes as concerns increase about organized criminal targeting of football betting.
FIFA, football’s world governing body, and FIFPRO, the players’ union, endorsed the Red Button app, which is owned by FIFPRO. It will be distributed to players by national players associations, FIFPRO announced last week.
The app also lets players attach relevant documents, photos, and recordings. Confidential tips will be investigated by FIFA’s integrity department.
“With players facing disciplinary action for failing to report a match-fixing approach, there must be a way for them to do this without fear that they are putting themselves, their families, and their careers in danger,” Roy Vermeer, FIFPRO’s legal director, said in a recent statement. “The Red Button app … will help players manage this considerable risk that … might confront them at any time.”
Football Top Sport for Match-Fixing: Europol
The Red Button app comes a month after Europol, a European law enforcement agency, released a statement that “match-fixing has reached extensive proportions, and [at] the highest levels, in football, tainting World Cup qualifiers and Champions League matches in the process.”
The agency is especially concerned about money laundering and involvement of organized crime. There are a lot of potential funds involved.
The yearly sports wagering market is approximately 1.69 trillion Euros ($2 trillion USD). Criminal profits from betting-related match-fixing are about 120 million Euros ($142 million USD) based on Europol estimates, the Associated Press reported.
The Red Button app is among a variety of reporting methods that FIFA players will have available to them. US gaming law experts praised the new app as one of many options to report potential wrongdoing.
Some players might feel more comfortable reporting through an app versus face-to-face discussion or phone, or may not want to take serious steps to alert law enforcement,” said Jennifer Roberts, a Las Vegas-based gaming attorney who teaches at UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law and the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah, to Casino.org.
“Reports of undue influence or corruption will help leagues and governing bodies protect [the] integrity of sport … and ultimately betting on the sports — … which trickles down to fans and bettors trusting the product. But the app needs to be combined with measures to protect those who report…,” Roberts added.
Need to Break Culture of Silence
When asked about the new app, Anthony Cabot, Distinguished Fellow in Gaming Law at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, agreed that “Having a simple and anonymous method for athletes to report suspicious activities can be a valuable tool. But it must be matched with education and compliance programs that stress the athletes’ responsibilities and work to overcome any institutional culture of silence.”
Also, in the US, the Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association (SWIMA) currently relays integrity concerns to sports leagues and is used in sports betting, said Jeff Ifrah, a Washington, DC-based gaming attorney. SWIMA provides a platform to alert its members of “unusual or suspicious activity reflecting possible fraud or manipulation relating to sports betting,” Ifrah told Casino.org.
In connection with FIFA, two former Fox senior executives were indicted by federal authorities in April for their part in a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme to secure broadcasting and marketing rights for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups. They are Hernan Lopez, who was until 2016 president and CEO of Fox International Channels, and Carlos Martinez, who until last year was president of Fox Latin America.
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