AFC, Sportradar fight match-fixing scandal

London, January 29

The Asian Football Confederation will monitor 4,500 matches for corruption under an extended partnership agreement with a British-based betting fraud prevention and detection firm, AFC announced on Thursday.

Illegal betting syndicates in Asia have plagued several sports, notably cricket, while Singapore has been a recognised centre for football match-fixing. The AFC first joined forces with Sportradar in 2013 to monitor its tournaments but the new agreement, launched in Doha, will also cover the top professional leagues in each of its 47 member associations.

In addition, prominent continental and regional tournaments will also be monitored by the specially designed AFC Monitoring System (AMS), with 4,500 matches across Asia each year coming under its remit.

Sportradar spokesman Alex Inglot said the system relied on a combination of mathematical and human intelligence. "The first part is the technology and an algorithm we have developed which filters through five billion data sets every day from 450 betting operations around the world — legal and illegal, Europe and Asia, betting exchanges and national lotteries," Inglot said. "We split a market into the pre-match and live betting. In pre-match market we are looking and unexpected movements in the odds; in the live market we look for deviations from what our system expects.”

Among the federations who work with Sportradar are the International Cricket Council and the England and Wales Cricket Board, World Rugby and the New Zealand Rugby Football Union, as well as football's UEFA and CONCACAF. "Our reports have launched and supported over a hundred successful sporting sanctions and over 170 arrests," said Inglot.

In November, a Singapore court freed Dan Tan, who was accused of leading the world's biggest match-fixing syndicate. He was arrested in September 2013 but never tried. He was released after Singapore's Court of Appeal ruled that it was "unlawful" to keep him detained because he did not pose a danger to public safety in Singapore.

After Tan's arrest, the then-Interpol chief Ronald Noble said the Singapore-based gang was the world's "largest and most aggressive match-fixing syndicate".