- Two-day event organised by CSCF Foundation for Sports Integrity in collaboration with Estonian Centre of Integrity in Sports (ESTCIS)
- Twenty-five organisations in Estonia participated in the conference, engaging in educational presentations and fruitful seminars
- FIFPRO Senior Legal Counsel Alexandra Gómez Bruinewoud was one of the keynote speakers, presenting the issues of match-fixing from a player perspective
Tallinn, Estonia was the setting of IntegriSport 3.0’s latest awareness-raising session, where multiple stakeholders gathered on 7-8 February to educate law enforcement and judiciary on successfully combating sport manipulation.
The event, which was co-hosted by CSCF Foundation for Sport Integrity and the Estonian Centre of Integrity in Sports (ESTCIS), saw over 45 participants from 25 organisations in Estonia participate and engage in fruitful panel discussions and seminars.
Giving one of the keynote speeches was FIFPRO Senior Legal Counsel Alexandra Gómez Bruinewoud, whose player-centric presentation illustrated the need to protect players against match-fixing approaches, and the failures in the industry, such as systemic non-payment of salaries, which puts players in a very vulnerable situation towards match-fixing.
"Match-fixing is organised crime and an issue that cannot be solved in football alone," said Gómez Bruinewoud. "The football system fails the players systematically, so it provides a good terrain for this type of crime.
"It is therefore vital that the system is improved, that clubs comply with their most basic obligation of payment, and that there is close cooperation with football stakeholders, law enforcement and police to tackle this issue and protect players from this threat in their workplace."
The Red Button app: Tackling match-fixing in football
Football is the most-targeted sport by international organised crime, according to Europol. Those engaging in this criminal behaviour will often exploit players who are in financial difficulties, such as those not regularly receiving their salary.
To protect players and support the fight against match-fixing, FIFPRO launched the Red Button app in 2020 which allows footballers to report match-fixing approaches safely and anonymously.
“It is the players who are often the victims in cases of match-fixing,” said Gómez Bruinewoud. “The Red Button app is distributed by FIFPRO and its member unions and is recognised by FIFA's dedicated integrity department and UEFA as a valid reporting tool.
“FIFPRO and domestic player unions around the world are committed to ensuring players enjoy a healthy and safe working environment – and in the context of sport manipulation, the Red Button app empowers players to safely report match-fixing approaches by anonymously alerting law enforcement and authorities in their country.”
What is IntegriSport 3.0?
Integrisport 3.0 is a project established by CSCF Foundation for Sports Integrity to provide theoretical and practical support for law enforcement and judiciaries in Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Romania, and Spain, co-financed by the European Union, on fighting sport manipulation.
The latest awareness-raising session reaffirmed the need for cross-stakeholder collaboration and illustrated how the threat of sport manipulation is stretching into esports.
"Our aim with the awareness-raising session in Estonia was to convey a clear message to all stakeholders: the threat of manipulation in both traditional sports and esports is a pressing challenge that requires deeper understanding and collective action,” said CSCF Foundation for Sport Integrity Director Norbert Rubicsek.
“Additionally, our efforts focused on bridging the gap between law enforcement and the esports sector, highlighting specific vulnerabilities, and emphasising the critical support needed to uphold the integrity of sports. We are confident that this session has substantially strengthened the stakeholders' approach to combating sports crime, especially within the rapidly evolving esports landscape."