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Exclusive: How Sportradar is fighting back against match fixing
Tue, 2nd Apr 2024

In an exclusive interview with Andy Cunningham, Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships and Integrity Services at Sportradar, the spotlight was cast on the vital role of technology in safeguarding sports integrity globally. Sportradar has positioned itself at the nexus of sports betting and media industries, offering innovative solutions to a myriad of sectors, including sports leagues, media outlets, and betting operators worldwide.

Sportradar's expansive operational footprint spans over 20 countries with a workforce of approximately 4000, illustrating its global reach and commitment to safeguarding the integrity of sports worldwide. Cunningham emphasized the company's multifaceted role in combating match-fixing, doping, and online abuse, showcasing the breadth of Sportradar's efforts to maintain the purity of sports.

Particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia and New Zealand, Sportradar has forged strong partnerships with over 30 sporting bodies, providing integrity services across a variety of sports. Cunningham proudly noted that in Australia and New Zealand specifically, the incidence of suspicious matches remains remarkably low, a testament to the effectiveness of Sportradar's surveillance and the proactive measures taken by local authorities and sports organizations.

The discussion also unveiled insights from Sportradar's latest Betting Corruption and Match Fixing Report for 2023. Globally, over 1300 matches were flagged as suspicious, a slight increase from the previous year, underscoring the persistent challenge of match-fixing worldwide. However, in a reassuring development, Australia and New Zealand reported zero incidents, highlighting their exemplary status in the global fight against sports corruption.

Cunningham attributed this success to the collaborative ecosystem within these regions, where sports bodies, government, law enforcement, and betting operators work in unison to deter corruption. This proactive stance, coupled with effective legal actions against offenders, has set a high benchmark for integrity in sports, making Australia and New Zealand exemplars of best practices in this arena.

Technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), plays a pivotal role in Sportradar's strategy. The company's Universal Fraud Detection System, powered by AI, has significantly enhanced the ability to monitor and flag suspicious betting activities across millions of data sets. This technological prowess has been instrumental in identifying irregular patterns and ensuring swift action can be taken to protect the integrity of sports competitions.

Looking ahead, Cunningham sees further advancements in AI as crucial to preventing corrupt practices. The goal is to extend the technology's reach across more sports and betting markets, thereby fortifying the global sports integrity framework.

Cunningham's insights shed light on the intricate web of factors contributing to the success of sports integrity initiatives. The commitment to innovation, collaboration, and a proactive stance against corruption are key ingredients in maintaining sports' sanctity. As Sportradar continues to lead the charge, the future of sports integrity looks promising, with technology at its core driving global efforts to preserve the true spirit of competition.