Zagreb/Croatia, 23 April 2023 – The ‘BITEFIX’ project partners launched a new Online Training Educational Programme on the exchange of information and data protection to fight match-fixing and betting-fraud in sport.
The launch took place during the ‘BITEFIX,’ EU ERASMUS+ Sport project’s 5th transnational meeting held at HAŠK Mladost Sports Centre in Zagreb, Croatia, with the active involvement of all project partners, namely the ICSS INSIGHT, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University, ISCTE – Associação ISCTE Conhecimento e Inovação , Sevilla Fútbol Club Foundation , Calcio Servizi Lega Pro Srl / Lega Italiana Calcio Professionistico, Starlizard Integrity Services, HAŠK Mladost, and Grupo Desportivo Estoril Praia.
This educational tool aims to provide athletes, coaches, and sport officials, with in depth knowledge of match-fixing and its associated problems including illegal sports betting.
As a part of the launch, a first training session designed for athletes and club staff was held in order to test and promote the use of the Online Course.
During the transnational meeting, participants also analysed the project’s main deliverables namely the Guide of Best Practices on the Fight Against Match-Fixing, and discussed different topics such as the next steps of implementing the online training educational programme, the launch of the ‘BITEFIX’ e-Community “International Network of Experts on match-fixing and betting-fraud in sports”, and policy recommendations on the exchange of information to combat the manipulation of sports competitions.
The meeting was followed by the International Conference INTEGRITY OF SPORTS – COUNTERING MATCH-FIXING, organized by HAŠK Mladost within the framework of the programme and under the patronage of the Mayor of the City of Zagreb – Mr. Tomislav TOMAŠEVIĆ, marking the 120th anniversary of the organisation founded in 1903. The event took place at the University of Zagreb.
“We are honoured and proud to be celebrating HAŠK Mladost’s 120th Anniversary on this occasion, by holding BITEFIX’s Transnational Project’s meeting, Trainings, and an international Conference around the important combat to the manipulation of sports competitions. This was an important moment for sharing the tools produced by the consortium so far, available at the project’s website, and highlight the importance of bringing people together to strengthen the resilience of sports’ organisations and work with determination and passion for the safeguard of sport’s values,” said Diogo Guia, Executive-Director ICSS Europe, and Project Coordinator.
“Manipulation in sports is not only characteristic of high and professional sports, but the threat is there at the grassroots level of European Sports. Only by continuous vigilance and concrete tools – physical and virtual – can we bring security to safeguard the integrity of sports. HAŠK Mladost advocates that Croatian institutions need to engage more seriously and responsibly to meet the Macolin Convention standard,” said Bojan Mitrovic of HAŠK Mladost, Croatia.
“Delivering training and education programmes to athletes and clubs, raising awareness about the extent and threat of match-fixing and how it can affect them, is such an important facet of sports integrity work. With that in mind, it was great to engage with the athletes and club officials at HAŠK Mladost on the subject today,” said Affy Sheikh, Head of Starlizard Integrity Services.
“The feedback of the public showed the importance of such educative initiatives. There is still so much to do. It is not only important to explain what a fix is, but also understand the new incentive and risk areas that the current betting market have created,” said Prof. Marcelo Moriconi, an academic researcher from ISCTE-IUL University in Portugal.
“We should pay attention on the importance of training grassroots teams about these issues and be raise awareness of what the consequences are for them and their mates. At Sevilla FC Foundation we are in line with the authorities and all types of such initiatives that assure the growing protection of our competitions,” said José Vinas Rodriguez, Responsible for Sustainability of Sevilla FC Foundation.
BITEFIX is a Collaborative Partnership project co-funded by the ERASMUS+ Sport programme of the European Union. Led by the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) INSIGHT and the consortium, it includes 7 other organisations: Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University (France), ISCTE – Associação ISCTE Conhecimento e Inovação (Portugal), Sevilla Fútbol Club Foundation (Spain), Calcio Servizi Lega Pro Srl / Lega Italiana Calcio Professionistico (Italy), Starlizard Integrity Services (UK), HAŠK Mladost (Croatia), and Grupo Desportivo Estoril Praia (Portugal).
BITEFIX allows a group of committed stakeholders from different areas and backgrounds to work together in the establishment of networks and in the development of tools and materials to counter match-fixing and betting fraud, while identifying and putting in value initiatives, projects, and strategies. The project has a focus in awareness raising and aims at offering quality training and education packages to grassroots levels and key-stakeholders, thus contributing to the EU strategic objectives of solidarity and prosperity through sports.