Fixers’ paradise

Criminals are exploiting lack of regulation of friendly matches and targeting new regions and different clubs in countries where these matches have been previously manipulated but not investigated.

By Steve Menary

Friendly matches in Europe are largely unregulated and increasingly targeted by match fixers. An independent survey using monitoring of betting found 34 suspicious friendly matches in Europe played between June and August this summer.

Half of these matches were rated as red alerts by Ivo Romano, an independent betting analyst who worked on the project over the summer.

“The situation is still very worrying with a large number of red alerts and many other suspicious matches,” says Romano. “As international and local football federations and law enforcement agencies do not care about these kinds of matches then fixing them is as easy as robbing a bank with no CCTV, alarm system and private surveillance in a city with no police. Criminals can do this easily knowing they will never be caught.”

There were 54 clubs involved in the suspicious friendlies identified from 15 different countries. Five of these clubs also appeared in an earlier monitoring project that looked at suspicious betting on friendlies played over the 2022/23 winter break.

Ten of the countries highlighted in the latest research also appeared in the Winter project and Romano believes fixers are targeting new clubs in countries where matches have been routinely manipulated in the recent past and no action taken.

“It appears very clear that the same groups are fixing matches using new clubs in countries where...

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