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Betting & Affiliates, Federations & Rights Holders

Suspicious Betting Trends in Global Football: 2021 Report

By: Alex Roberts

Released in partnership with Starlizard Integrity Services.

Detailed analysis was conducted on betting markets offered on 61,296 football matches played throughout the world in 2020. While this is down 23% on the 80,939 matches analysed the previous year – primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic causing the cancellation of so many fixtures – it is comparable to the 62,250 matches analysed two years ago.

Key findings of the 2021 Suspicious Betting Trends in Global Football Report:

  • Despite concerns around the short-term risks in football being increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 217 (0.35%) matches in 2020 were identified as suspicious, a reduction in both real and percentage terms from the 456 (0.56%) matches in last year’s report.
  • This is the third successive year that the proportion of suspicious matches identified has reduced, and it is now over 50% less than our inaugural report from 2018 when 0.73% of matches were identified as suspicious.
  • The proportion of suspicious matches in 2020 peaked in the spring when betting focus was concentrated on friendly matches and lower profile competitions. However, in the autumn months, as fixture calendars returned to relative normality, proportions dropped to well below those of previous years.
  • 42% of all suspicious matches were at the highest level of domestic football in the country in which they took place. 36% of suspicious matches took place at the second highest level of domestic football.
  • As with previous editions of the report, friendly matches continue to pose significant issues for football authorities. 1.19% of analysed friendlies were suspicious, which is an increase from 0.67% in last year’s report. Concerns around friendly matches are heightened when they take place in countries with a historically increased risk of suspicious competitive matches.
  • Suspicious matches in women’s football continue to be rare, with only one identified amongst more than 3,700 matches analysed.
  • A number of case studies have been identified where interventions by football authorities and law enforcement have preceded significant reductions in suspicious matches.

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