BSDA is partner in AIM project
The promotion of integrity against match fixing is the main objective of IAM / Promoting Integrity Against Match-fixing through education among young athletes/ and a specific priority of Erasmus+ Sport programme. The core idea of our project is to fight this international contemporary threat facing sport through education among young athletes in order to preserve transparency, fair-play and respect for others at the earliest level of sport activity. The challenges posed by the manipulation of matches need today a strong cooperation at European and international level in order to protect the future of sport as well as its ethics and integrity.

The match-fixing at the EU level is considered one of the most dangerous threats to sports. As a tool of fairness promotion, art. 165 TFEU recognizes the relevance of promoting cooperation between Member States and international sport organizations, which is also a central purpose of IAM.

Indeed, in 2018 the observer ESSA reported 267 match fixing alerts to sport and regulatory authorities. Among these suspicious alerts of 2018, 148 concerned Europe, 7 more than in the previous year. Europe still has its primary position of sporting manipulation and therefore there is still much to be done to achieve the goals. Asia is the second continent involved in match fixing and the threat to European sport arises from a dangerous interconnection between the two markets. The Expert Group on Match Fixing 2014-2017 of the European Commission described the manipulation of results due to two main features of the Asian market: its liquidity and the weakness of its regulatory framework. Europe must play an active role and promote the necessary conversation to encourage countries to properly manage with sports betting.

Interpol and Europol constantly monitor and investigate the situation about corruption in Europe, working with national regulatory authorities. Their data about the manipulation of professional sports are still dramatically worrying: in January 2019, 83 suspects, 28 of them tennis players, were arrested for their fraud and criminal network. Indeed, tennis is the most corrupted sport and football is the second one. Actually data reveal that individual sports are easier to model and poorly paid, while sports such as cricket and football are easier to fix, involving for instance the goal keeper. Mostly, corruption is common in second-tier level, such as in small football leagues. In addition, emerging sports such as e-sports create ongoing challenges, since their regulatory framework is still not clear and uniform. As the analysis demonstrates, this context is very challenging and a global effort is needed. IAM aims to be a step towards a joint solution.

Given the large scale relevance of match-fixing, the coordination of European countries and EU institutions is crucial to achieve together a solution to fight against match-fixing, as IAM aims to do.
The need of a greater unity between the member States of the Council of Europe emerges from its Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions. With the adoption of the Resolution on the European Dimension of sport, also the European Parliament shows its strong commitment to jointly wage this battle. Since 2011, also the Commission Communication on Sport has been dealing with the fight against match fixing, by implementing the European Partnership on Sports Act. Indeed, the European Commission actively promotes projects focusing on the prevention of this relevant issue through education and information for athletes, referees, coaches and administrators.

Thus, IAM supports EU policies, such as the on going 2017-2020 work plan on sport, which aim to combat match fixing and is an important contribution to reach common goals for the integrity of sport at European and international level. It underlines the importance of education to prevent the dangers of corruption and manipulation of results, as expected by the Erasmus+ programme. It stresses the importance of awareness raising, collaboration and exchange of information between competent authorities and organizations at national and international level, as IAM aims to do through the implementation of education activities.

Our project sets as main priority the awareness raising of young sportswomen and sportsmen in order to preserve the fairness and the transparency of athletes. Since the potential gains of match-fixing are high, prevention efforts to protect players are necessary. In particular, at the beginning of their professional career, players must know the rules in order to protect the future of their sport. IAM focuses on young sportsmen and sportswomen, promoting the recognition and the rejection of manipulation and corruption since the very beginning of their passion for sport, as the UEFA campaign "Recognize, Reject and Report" supports. Indeed, young athletes can be more vulnerable, facing the dangers of current technological changes, the speed and ease of global communication which can rise the potential risk of sports betting. It is also necessary to raise their awareness about the possibility of a corrupt environment in sport clubs and federations and to teach them how to protect themselves and their sport. Thus, it is essential to sensitize U-14 and U-16 players through the implementation of interactive workshops which will show risk factors, such as bad governance.

The achievement of our specific goals will be sustained by a solid and collaborative partnership, which involves different countries and stakeholders, promoting different perspectives of the main problem and collaborating for a common solution to tackle match-fixing. Therefor, Greek long tradition in sports and its commitment to Olympic values, including youth education, will greatly contribute to the realization of our project. In addition, this trans European partnership will also include the important contribution of Italy, Slovenia, Turkey and Bulgaria, providing different approaches to the resolution of match-fixing, thanks to their strong commitment to this theme.

Each partner will play an active role, representing its own added value to the project and working together to ensure a positive impact on the young beneficiaries of IAM. Thus, the joint initiative of different stakeholders, representing the education sector, sport field and consumer and sport supporters protection will contribute to raise the awareness of young athletes about the need of a greater understanding of this present danger to preserve integrity, transparency and fairness in sport.

IAM / Promoting Integrity Against Match-fixing through education among young athletes/ project is co-funded by ErasmusPlus Programme of the European Union.