An increasing number of suspect games are taking place in Asia and suspicious youth matches are on the rise.
A total of 144 football matches played around the world in 2022 were assessed as suspicious by Starlizard Integrity Services (SIS). This represents a marginal increase on the 140 suspicious matches identified by SIS in 2021.
Of particular note was an increasing number of suspect games played in Asia, where 46 suspicious matches (32%) were identified, up from 31 matches (22%) in 2021 and 13 matches (9%) in 2020. In Europe, 51 suspicious matches (35%) were identified in 2022, down from 70 matches (50%) the previous year.
The number of suspicious youth football matches rose markedly. From just one suspicious youth match in 2021, the number of matches assessed as suspicious jumped to 10 in 2022.
Among the total 144 suspicious football matches identified in 2022, 48 (33%) took place in the top-level domestic competitions of various countries. The year also showed an increase in the number of suspicious matches taking place in second-tier domestic competitions and below, with 61 matches (42%) identified, up from 43 matches (31%) in 2021.
Matches analysed by SIS are categorised as “suspicious” when they are found to have suspect betting patterns associated with them that may be indicative of match-fixing. While the level of suspicion will vary across matches depending on the nature and amount of evidence discovered, SIS believes that all matches so identified would warrant further investigation.
The 144 matches assessed as suspicious in 2022 represent 0.39% of a total of 37,354 football matches analysed by SIS during the twelve-month period. This compares to 0.32% of the 43,749 football matches analysed in 2021.
The SIS data also revealed that:
- The 144 suspicious matches were played in 33 different countries.
- 27 of the matches (19%) were “international” matches – i.e. matches that do not fall within a specific country in any of the prescribed confederation regions, such as all international fixtures, cross-border club competitions, and all club team friendly matches.
- 13 of the matches (9%) were non-competitive friendly matches (7 international friendlies and 6 club friendlies).
Affy Sheikh, Head of Starlizard Integrity Services, commented: “Our analysis of over 37,000 football matches played in 2022 reveals that match-fixing remains an ever-present threat to football. The overall number of suspicious games is very similar to that observed in the previous year, and, while it is apparent that some of the detail within that number has changed, the figures ultimately show that suspected match-fixing in football continues unabated.
The concerning rise in matches identified in Asia is one that all stakeholders should note, and it is particularly troubling to see a significant increase in the number of suspicious youth matches, which highlights the vulnerability and susceptibility of young players and underlines the importance of protecting them from an early age.”
About Starlizard Integrity Services
Starlizard Integrity Services (SIS) is the specialist integrity division of Starlizard, the London-based sports betting consultancy. Starlizard’s detailed understanding of sport and sporting performance, as well as its active involvement in betting markets, affords a unique perspective, enabling the company to know better than anyone else in the world when betting markets and sporting contests look wrong. Starlizard has been producing independent integrity services for sports governing bodies and associations since 2010, and established SIS in 2017 as a dedicated resource to focus entirely on this work. Combining its deep insight into how betting markets should behave with detailed on-pitch performance data analysis and research, SIS is ideally placed to identify suspicious matches and betting patterns. For more information, visit www.starlizardintegrity.com