The silent partner

Is Sportradar – Fifa and Uefa’s integrity partner – providing data from Belgian amateur matches to controversial betting operator 1XBet?

By Sam Kunti

At the Daknamstadion, where discoloured yellow seats remind fans of Lokeren’s glory days, a man with a blue cap sits with his phone in hand, constantly monitoring the match and updating a mobile app with the latest movements and action on the field through terms such as ‘home danger’, ‘away danger’, ‘home attack’, ‘away attack’ and ‘red card risk’. Before the break, he watches Lokeren’s Sam Van Aerschot score two goals against Charleroi’s reserves, much to the delight of the home supporters who, once upon a time, were accustomed to revelling in the skills of Jan Koller and Włodzimierz Lubański. 

Van Aerschot is one of the lesser-known names in a modest squad for the hosts. This is a match in the first amateur division, the third tier of Belgian football, after all. In the stands, the man, a nephew of a 1986 Bulgarian World Cup player, keeps collecting data. Working for Genius Sports, a sports data company that lists Bet365 and William Hill among their clients, he says that he also covers matches of  KAA Gent Ladies as well as volleyball matches in the region. Does he know where his data goes? Betting, he says. 

A view of the main stand during the match between Westerlo-Diksmuide, secont-tier of the women's football pyramid. One of the 30 specators in the stand is a data scout.

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