Every year on the 15th of April, the #EUSportIntegrityDay campaign is an opportunity to take a stand against match fixing and show commitment to protect the integrity of sport. This campaign was established by EU Athletes in 2014 and has developed and grown ever since, with more stakeholders showing their support every year. #EUSportIntegrityDay 2022 proved successful and was promoted by several public and private stakeholders, including player unions and associations from all over Europe, as well as WADA, Council of Europe or IBIA.
Match-fixing is not a new problem in sport. It is a persistent and ever-evolving phenomenon which poses a severe threat to the sports we love by undermining the integrity of the game. By virtue of the financial challenges and changing sporting circumstances pertaining to Covid-19 as well as the increasingly digital era, match fixing has recently taken new forms and diversified into new areas. This calls for strengthened and collective efforts by different stakeholders.
The involvement of athletes and their associations at national, European, and international level in the fight against match fixing is essential. Not only are athletes the ones with the most to lose if match fixing destroys public confidence in the sport they love and earn a living from, but they are also a vital factor in preventing match fixing as the “direct influencers” on the field of play. Athletes who are educated about the dangers of the phenomenon and who are given the opportunity to securely report to suspicious activity have the potential to effectively gate keep sports from manipulation.
An additional element of essence, the importance of which cannot not be understated, is good governance. Where good governance standards are met, including the respect for athletes rights and interests as well as the transparency at every level of sport organisations, there is less risk for match fixing to flourish.