FIFA and FIFPro enter into an agreement to combat match-fixing
Match-fixing has long been a problem with most professional sports all over the world, and this has been an issue that has persisted for many years. It is more prevalent at lower levels of sport, where the money earned is not too high, and therefore players are more susceptible to fixing requests.
However, the biggest competitions are where the most eyeballs are, and therefore they are also the markets on which the most betting takes place.
Being able to manipulate outcomes in these matches can be extremely attractive and lucrative, and thus we have seen high-profile players and competitions get caught in this net quite a few times.
Betting odds change almost every minute for most sports, and so being able to predict, or even better, know for sure what is going to happen in any sports match at a given point of time, is priceless, as bets can then be made to take advantage of that information and therefore earn huge sums of money. This is the biggest reason for match-fixing all over the world, and it is not just limited to match outcomes.
There are smaller events which can be ‘fixed’ as well, since odds are offered on a huge variety of events in all sports matches. For example, the number of throw-ins that take place in a football match, or the number of no-balls in a cricket match. These spot events are much easier to manipulate and influence, rather than the entire outcome of the match, which would need almost the entire team to be on board. Spot events can be influenced by just one player though, making them much more attractive for fixers.
Thus, it is imperative that match-fixing is reported by the players themselves, as they are the only ones who have all the information. In the case of football, the world governing body, FIFA, and the association for football professionals, FIFPRO, have signed a deal to create and promote a smartphone app which can be used to report match-fixing approaches by players. This reporting will be anonymous, and the app is known as the Red Button app.
The various player associations will be responsible for distributing the app among their players, and it will work in tandem with existing apps such as the FIFA Integrity App and BKMS, as well as other existing ways to report match-fixing approaches. The Finnish government and Finland’s player association have created the Red Button app. FIFA will recognize any reports made through the app as an official report, and will then investigate it.
Given that players are liable to face disciplinary action for not reporting match fixing attempts, such an app was necessary, to allow them to provide this information anonymously, as there are legitimate fears about player safety and the safety of their families if their identity is revealed. Thus, the Red Button app can help mitigate those concerns. This will give players another easy to use the option to report any untoward approaches, and will work alongside existing methods of reporting.