Football Integrity Report 2023

Starlizard Integrity Services identifies 167 suspicious football matches played globally in 2023. New report analyses over 65,000 games in national and international competitions, as well as non-competitive matches.

Sports integrity specialists Starlizard Integrity Services (SIS) have identified 167 football matches played around the world in 2023 as suspicious.

In a major study, covering more than 65,000 football matches, SIS found that 167 (0.26%) showed indicators of potential manipulation. This represents an increase of 16% on the number identified in 2022 (144), although SIS analysed more matches in 2023, which means the percentage of suspicious matches decreased from 0.39% in 2022 to 0.26% in 2023.

The SIS 2023 data revealed that:

  • 69 of the matches assessed as suspicious (41.3%) were played in the UEFA (European) region. However, this represents only 0.18% of the total UEFA region matches analysed – below the overall global percentage of 0.26%.
  • The AFC (Asian) region saw the highest regional percentage of suspicious matches at 0.47%, although 0.52% of all international matches analysed were also assessed as suspicious.
  • Just under half (49.7%) of all suspicious matches identified in 2023 were played in domestic leagues below the top leagues.
  • Top-level leagues themselves were not immune, with just over a quarter (25.2%) of all suspicious matches identified being in this category.
  • The risks to club friendly and youth matches are disproportionately high, accounting for 10.8% and 6% of the suspicious matches respectively, despite representing just 2.9% and 3.5% of all the games analysed in 2023.
  • Whilst Full-Time betting markets still dominate suspicious betting activity, there has been a significant rise in suspicious betting on First-Half Only markets. Of the 167 matches identified as suspicious in 2023, 45 (27%) involved betting solely on the First-Half Only markets, which represents a marked increase from only six games (4.2%) identified in 2022.

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 full report can be downloaded at:

Affy Sheikh, Head of Starlizard Integrity Services, commented: “By significantly expanding our coverage to include analysis of over 65,000 football matches from 2023, our enhanced data collection enables us to delve deeper into the prevalence of suspected match-fixing. Unfortunately, our findings reveal a persistent and concerning threat to the integrity of football, with a troubling 167 matches flagged as suspicious. We purposely set the bar very high when it comes to allocating suspicion ratings to matches, thereby greatly reducing the risk of including false positives. Nevertheless, the revelations in this year’s report show that combatting suspected match-fixing in football remains an ongoing challenge.

“The significant increase in suspicious First-Half Only betting is a development worth noting, as is the disproportionate prevalence of club friendly and youth matches, which shows the vulnerabilities presented by these types of games.”