Sports Corruption Is On The Rise Around The World

Sports Corruption Is On The Rise Around The World

05 Apr 2023 ( Box Score News )

Sports corruption is on the rise around the world according to international watchdog Sportsradar who  analyzes sports data for bookmakers, national and international sports federations, and media companies.
In their second annual report on sports betting, corruption, and match-fixing for 2022, Sportsradar’s findings reveal the biggest rise in corruption was in Africa (+82%) followed by South America (+72%).

Although Africa and South America have had a major spike, Europe continues to see the highest number of suspicious matches, 630, followed by Asia, 240, and South America, 225.

Sportsradar analyzed 850,000 matches across 70-plus sports globally, detecting 1,212 suspicious matches in 12 different sports spanning 92 countries. Overall, it is a 307-match increase since 2021.

In other terms, across all sports, the suspected manipulation rate was one in every 476 matches, a ratio increase from one in every 545 matches in 2021.

Almost half of all suspicious matches (47%) were played in the 10 countries. As in the past, soccer continues to have the highest number of suspicious matches with a total of 775. Whereas, basketball showed the sharpest rise in suspicious matches with 220, an increase of approximately 250% compared to 2021.

With the exception of North America and Oceania, every region around the world has seen an increase in suspected sports corruption.

Sportsradar’s automated artificial intelligence tracked more than 30 billion odds changes from over 600 betting operators revealing that new countries and competitions are being affected by corruption.

In their findings, the Swiss-based company states the increase is “showing that match-fixing continues to grow substantially in certain regions where those responsible for match manipulation have enjoyed success in recent years.”

Within soccer, it is the lower levels that are most affected as 52% of the “suspicious soccer matches came from the third tier or lower, including regional leagues and youth competitions.”

This is a trend also found in basketball where “50% of suspicious domestic games came from the second tier of competition or lower, including amateur leagues.”

This fall in line with a 2021 United Nations Global Report on Corruption in Sport warning that marginally compensated athletes are the most vulnerable to bribery.

Although scandals involving top clubs like FC Barcelona or the ongoing Chinese football corruption scandals worldwide headline, most are regional news stories and largely go unnoticed such as recent scandals in Slovakia where the Senate for the Protection of Integrity suspended two football players following an investigation into allegations of match-fixing in the U19 national league or the suspension of an Indonesian professional basketball team after allegations of match-fixing came to light.

Suspicious Matches By SportSoccer 64%
Basketball 17.5%
Table Tennis 6%

Handball, Ice Hockey, Tennis, and Volleyball together make up the remaining 5%.

Additional Findings 

Basketball and table tennis saw a sharp rise from 2021 with an +157 and +51 match increase.
Cricket had 13 suspicious cricket matches, the highest annual figure recorded.