Youth football gets flagged for 2018 suspicious betting

A new report from Stats Perform and Starlizard Integrity Services has revealed a slight decline in the suspicious betting activity concerning football in 2018, although two matches at the highest level of the game have been flagged for potential corruption for the first time.

In addition, there was a disproportionately high level of unusual activity around youth football, and despite a decline in the amount of matches being flagged in Asia, it still continued to remain the largest region for suspicious activity. However, in total, only 0.61% of all matches monitored were deemed as suspicious.

The second annual Suspicious Betting Trends in Global Football report, compiled by Stats Perform and Starlizard, in partnership with data specialist, TxOdds, identified suspicious betting patterns around 377 matches over the year.

On the 377 matches which were flagged, 58 involved youth football, even though youth matches made up only 5.6% of the sample.

Games in Asia were overrepresented among the most suspicious matches. Of the 7,263 matches in Asia which were monitored, 69 were flagged as potentially being fixed based on betting patterns.

Head of Starlizard Integrity Services Affy Sheikh said: “It is important that the football world remains diligent and alert to integrity threats at all levels of the game.

“In producing this report, a huge effort has been made and a vast amount of data analysed in order to provide sports and integrity stakeholders with detailed intelligence on suspicious betting patterns across many different competitions and countries.”

The only continent which saw an increase in the percentage of matches which were flagged was Africa. Out of 1,923 total matches which were monitored, five were flagged as suspicious, up from one out of 1,250 in 2017. The majority of flagged games and total games monitored were located in Europe, where 227 out of 35,469 games were marked suspicious.

International matches had a greater proportion of games flagged than any continent, with 47 out of 4,896 matches being identified.

The number of suspicious matches remained unchanged year-on-year at 8% of fixtures, while one team from this league has not been involved in 13 flagged matches in the past two years.

In addition to this, one European country saw a drastic increase in flagged matches after “effective action by the governing body and law enforcement,” this included numerous arrests.

Stats Perform head of integrity Jake Marsh added: “We believe that by shining a light on suspicious activity in a non-accusatory public forum we can elevate understanding of the latest trends and areas of concern to integrity stakeholders.

“The efforts of integrity stakeholders, sports governing bodies and law enforcement are amplified when working together towards a common goal. To this end, we share the results of our analysis with stakeholders on a non-commercial basis in order to assist their efforts in protecting the integrity of football.”

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