*Doha-based global sport body stresses need for international co-operation
The Doha-based International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) launched, in partnership with the European Union (EU), the BITEFIX project to combat fraud and match-fixing in sports.
Recognising the need for enhanced cooperation between stakeholders and innovative practical tools to combat corruption in sport and tackle match-fixing and betting fraud, the ICSS, through its ICSS INSIGHT, and seven organisations from six EU countries, joined forces in a collaborative partnership under the EU ERASMUS+ sport programme to launch 'Building innovative tools for the exchange of information and awareness-raising against match-fixing in sport' (BITEFIX) project.
Led by ICSS INSIGHT and made possible by the financial support of the European Union, the BITEFIX project aims to create and offer tools to enable committed stakeholders to work together, contributing to greater efficiency of the existing exchange of information mechanisms, particularly in support of the national platforms under the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, also known as the Macolin Convention, while strengthening the resilience of the system in countering match-fixing and encouraging capacity building.
During the kick-off meeting, the transnational multisector partnership addressed the pressing issue of how match-fixing has become more prevalent today than ever and, how due to the lack of quality information exchange systems, proper awareness of key-stakeholders, and shortage of efficient capacity building programmes to sport organisations and other stakeholders, enables an increasingly damaging criminal infiltration in sports.
Therefore, continuous development and improvement of innovative tools are critical to enabling key-stakeholders (law enforcement authorities, betting regulators, betting operators, government agencies, and sport governing bodies) to work together against match-fixing and betting-fraud in sport through the exchange of timely, secure, and reliable information, while raising awareness to the importance of safeguarding the integrity of sport and its irreplaceable role across society.
The BITEFIX project is designed and implemented by a coalition of organisations from different sectors which includes International Centre for Sport Security - ICSS INSIGHT (UK), Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University (France), Associacao ISCTE Conhecimento e Inovacao (Portugal), Sevilla Futbol Club Foundation (Spain), Calcio Servizi Lega Pro Srl / Lega Italiana Calcio Professionistico (Italy), Starlizard Integrity Services (UK), HASK Mladost (Croatia), Grupo Desportivo Estoril Praia (Portugal).
The project will be developed and executed in coordination with other relevant ICSS strategic partners, such as the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) to ensure the highest possible impact of the envisaged activities and dissemination of outcomes.
Chairman of ICSS Mohamed Hanzab said that the exchange of information to combat the manipulation of sport is a systematic problem for sporting governing bodies, regulators, law enforcement authorities, as to other key-actors of civil society. While the Council of Europe's Macolin Convention offers a concrete legal framework to combat match-fixing, there is a pressing need to enhanced cooperation, promote the exchange of best practices and set up comprehensive practical instruments and training and education programmes to ensure greater awareness by all stakeholders and overall resilience of the system.
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