WSLR Event Attracts International Media Coverage
Peter Limacher, UEFA’s Head of Disciplinary Services, revealed that UEFA is currently investigating 40 potential cases of match fixing at World Sports Law Report’s ‘Sport, Betting & Sponsorship’ Briefing on Friday. “We have identified 40 matches in the last four seasons that are regarded as suspicious”, Limacher told delegates. “We have 16 betting analysts working full time on this problem in London”.
Limacher outlined UEFA’s Fraud Detection System in a detailed presentation that received international coverage from media organisations such as the Press Association, the Associated Press, Agence France Press and a number of international newspapers.
Simon Barker, a Senior Executive of the Professional Footballers Association and a Director of the Professional Players Federation – which represents player associations in the UK – revealed that in his experience, footballers do not often understand the rules regarding acceptable and unacceptable betting. He said that in his opinion, this had been the case regarding the five Accrington Stanley footballers recently charged by the Football Association. Delegates highlighted education of athletes regarding sports betting rules to be of paramount importance.
As could have been predicted, betting operators did not support the idea of creating a new right for sporting organisations to be able to sell to betting operators keen to offer bets. Delegates also expected an appeal from Bwin against the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) judgment in Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Profissional, Bwin International Ltd, formerly Baw International Ltd, v Departamento de Jogos da Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa. This appeal is regarded as important, as the ECJ’s ruling appears to suggest that gambling operators sponsoring sporting tournaments might wish to influence their outcome. ‘An operator which sponsors some of the sporting competitions on which it accepts bets and some of the teams taking part in those competitions may be in a position to influence their outcome directly or indirectly, and thus increase its profits’, reads the ruling.
Delegates were split on whether an organisation similar to the World Anti-Doping Agency should be set up to combat corruption in sport related to betting.