The Red Button app enables players to anonymously report match-fixing approaches. It is made available by FIFPRO and its member player unions for professional footballers. Reports will be sent to a local authority, such as a law-enforcement agency or police. As part of a collaboration agreement, FIFPRO can send reports to FIFA to investigate.
A recent report by the University of Liverpool (1) cited the Red Button app as having the highest overall score in a French evaluation of twenty reporting systems used by among others UEFA, the Tennis Integrity Unit, the Italian Sports Ministry and various American universities.
The publication by the University of Liverpool listed several strengths of the Red Button app:
- Guaranteed anonymity: the app offers maximum protection of the reporting player’s identity. Interpol experts tested the Red Button app and were unable to hack it and obtain information from users. Interpol validated the Red Button app as a safe reporting tool.
- The Red Button app is easy to use.
- The Red Button app is used by players only, which should improve the quality of the information shared.
- Reports are filtered through a party independent of the sport.
- The Red Button is distributed by FIFPRO’s affiliated player unions: 83% of athletes trust their union to protect them (and 35% only trust their union to protect them).
“I urge all players to make sure to keep the app installed on their phone”
“I can assure players that the app is safe to use,” said Professor David Forrest, one of the leaders of the research of the University of Liverpool.
“If you want your report to be anonymous, you can make that choice and be sure that the technology prevents anyone from finding out who made the report. Even if your phone is lost or stolen, there will be no trace of you having used the app.”
Professor Forrest said the app is “very straightforward to use” and “effective”.
“Your report will be seen first by an independent party from outside football, chosen by your player association. It will be its responsibility to investigate or pass on information to appropriate agencies. You can be confident that they will ensure that your information is properly considered and, where possible, used directly in the fight against match-fixing.”
“I can assure players that the app is safe to use”
FIFPRO addressed some of the recommendations that the University of Liverpool added in its publication. For example, players can now upload images, audio- and video recordings when they report.
FIFPRO’s collaboration agreement with FIFA means that if a player uses the Red Button app, then FIFA considers his or her report to be valid. (FIFA and other football governing bodies oblige players to report any match-fixing approach, risking a multi-year ban if they fail to do so.)
“I urge all players to make sure to keep the app installed on their phone,” said Professor Forrest. “If you ever have concerns to pass on, it will be there as a resource to be used to protect your own career and to make a contribution to safeguarding sport.”
“Reporting your suspicions is something you owe to football and to the fans, but is vital also for protecting your own career and reputation.”