Porto, 10 May 2018 - The SIGA Expert Summit on Sports Betting, Integrity and Media closed in Porto, Portugal (8 May) with demands for multi-discipline partnerships, stronger regulation, meaningful co-operation between sport and government agencies and better communication of the threat to the sport and betting industries.

Central themes, both at the pre-Summit Dinner-Debate and the Expert Summit, were the need for stronger trans-national involvement to create a fully regulated solution, ensuring match-fixing is treated as a criminal offence, and cohesive government regulation across national borders. Underpinning much of the debate was the need for more and better information, co-operation and sharing of intelligence both between stakeholders and to the media.

Organised by SIGA in partnership with the National Olympic Committee of Portugal and the National Club of Sports Press (CNID) as well as the daily newspapers A Bola, O Jogo and Record and Portugal’s public radio station Antena 1, the international Expert Summit brought together high-profile sports leaders and industry experts, law makers, law enforcement, sports governing bodies, EU and Portuguese politicians, as well as journalists and civil society leaders.

Prior to the Summit, SIGA held the first meeting of its newly formed Standing Committee on Sports Betting Integrity, in Porto, which agreed to:

  • Review the SIGA Universal Standards on Sports Betting Integrity;
  • Promote research into key issues in Sports Betting Integrity;
  • Encourage and work with SIGA Members and Committed Supporters to adopt and implement the SIGA Universal Standards on Sports Betting Integrity;
  • Reinforce and improve public awareness and understanding of the issues around Sports Betting Integrity;
  • Showcase and create opportunities for innovative Sports Betting Integrity products and solutions; and
  • Examine and advise on a framework for a Sports Betting Integrity Tax.

Summing up at the end of the Expert Summit, Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, CEO of SIGA, said:

“Vast sums of money are being invested in the sports betting industry with little to no oversight. The existing regulatory framework is simply ineffective. There is an urgent need to address this and overcome what is perceived as paralysis or a blockage of the system.

“If we are to safeguard sport and drive positive change in the industry, we must work collaboratively. Only by coming together and agreeing to a strong, global approach can we hope to effect the change so desperately needed.

“Leaderships are not to be proclaimed, they are to be performed. We must dignify our sport and elevate it. This is not an arrival point; it is a departure point. We must reinforce and build the future we want for sports. This is not just SIGA’s cause. It belongs to us all here.”

Conference Quotes:

Emma McClarkin, MEP, European Parliament:

“There is much that needs to be done but the SIGA Universal Standards on Sports Betting Integrity are the starting blocks for the changes that need to be effected ahead. I believe Sport will win. But we need all stakeholders to come to fight against the manipulation of Sport to ensure we protect the special spirit of sport.”

 Mark Lichtenhein, Chairman, Sports Rights Owners Coalition (SROC):

“One of the intellectual property areas that is not being monetised by sports rights owners is gambling - there is not any direct revenue going back to sport. This is exploitation of sports’ IP. Betting and match-fixing are inextricably linked. There needs to be a better relationship between sport and gambling market. There should be an integrity fee that goes back to sport.”

 Nick Raudenski, Chief Integrity Officer, UEFA:

“It is a grave mistake to say that the l training and education stage is over. We must continue to upkeep the responsibilities we have as governing bodies to tackle this threat. At UEFA we have made it a priority that any new player will receive the basics of training, education and awareness of match-fixing programme. The new generation are key. UEFA cannot use the same messaging for players from different jurisdictions. The messaging must connect to the ethical value systems in different places and different circumstances to combat match-fixing.”

Rute Soares, Legal Manager, Portuguese Football Association:

“Commitment to integrity in sport, and in particular in football, is a priority for the FPF (Portuguese Football Association) and is in the interest of all sports stakeholders and must necessarily involve all citizens. To that extent, we welcome this initiative by SIGA, reinforcing and encouraging the role of the press in tackling this issue, correct treatment of the problem and dissemination of good practices, because this phenomenon affects everyone.”

Affy Sheikh, Head of Integrity, Starlizard Integrity Services, said:

“We’ve heard good examples of both best practice and pitfalls to avoid and there’s clearly a strong will to impact upon the integrity issues that negatively affect the sports and betting sectors. We fully support effective action, harnessing the expert skills of committed organisations, working with sports governing bodies to inform on betting irregularities and what is happening on the pitch, helping to build successful cases against those who would seek to compromise the fundamental principle of fairness in sport.”

Kevin Carpenter, Chair, Disciplinary Panel, Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) and Special Counsel, Sports Integrity, Genius Sports Group:

“We are at a critical point: how do we engage stakeholders on this issue? We need to engage the general public to care more about integrity and betting to win this fight.”

Paulo Rozeira, Legal Coordinator, Liga Portugal:

“This was a true expert summit. The quality and deepness of the interventions was exceptional in name and in content. We salute and congratulate SIGA and we will continue to cooperate towards clean and trustworthy football and sport in general.”

Luís Ribeiro, Criminal Investigation Coordinator - Anti Corruption National Unit – Portuguese Judiciary Police:

“Match-fixing, especially match-fixing for betting purposes, is considered “the problem”. Criminal organisations have found a high revenue and low risk activity and are exploiting the lack of legislation in most of the EU countries, but not only.

“To reach effective results, the authorities of EU countries need to work together. Varying commitment from the different EU states makes this result difficult to reach. The efforts of SIGA are putting at the same table different people, from different areas and various knowledge, permitting the change of experiences and practical knowledge worldwide.”

João Paulo Almeida, General Director, National Olympic Committee of Portugal:

“There is lack of information and ignorance on the subject of sports betting - it is great to see such high quality speakers and experts here. If we do not stay apace with the criminal infiltration and match-fixing we will be puppets in their hands. The media have a crucial role. There are technical words difficult to translate for the audience - this Expert Summit will go some way to bridge the gap.”

Laurent Vidal, Professor, Sorbonne University:

“80% of market is illegal in the sports  betting market today. There is a tsunami of illegal betting in sport. Government are too far behind organised crime. We must regulate internationally.”

Jorge Barbosa, CNID:

“There is a need for states to regulate and intervene. There must be political will - so far this not been very obvious. There is a lot more to be done. The figures for match-fixing are frightening. Regulation must be taken seriously. This collective effort is the key against the fight against match-fixing. SIGA is a good example of how we can join efforts and find solutions and combat match-fixing.”

Emídio Guerreiro, Member of Portuguese Parliament / former Secretary of State of Sport and Youth

“In Portugal a third of the bets are covered by the legislation now. Is it perfect? No. But it is better than 4 years ago when we had nothing. We must now address the gaps. I’m dissatisfied and sad that the Council of Europe has not managed to deal with this and provide a global platform to fight match-fixing. Governments need to understand this is a serious business. It impacts the economy and deserves attention.”

Fernando Veiga Gomes, President, Sports Law Commission, Union Internationale d’Ávocats

“After drugs, human trafficking and weapons, match-fixing is the next biggest problem for the legal system. Dirty money and international criminals must be stopped from acting in Portugal. There is no control for money laundering. We must work preventatively. Atletico club in Portugal is a recent example - as a result of criminal infiltration, it is now in the bottom division.”

Other speakers taking part included:

  • Antonio Magalhães - Director, Record
  • Diogo Guia - Director Sports Public Policy, ICSS INSIGHT
  • Ian Smith - Commissioner, Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC)
  • Jason Ferguson- Chairman, World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association
  • José Manuel Ribeiro - Director, O Jogo
  • Karl Bennison- Chief of Enforcement Division, Nevada Gaming Control Board
  • Paul Nicholson - CEO, Inside World Football
  • Ramune Bistrickaite- Head of Public Affairs, Integrity Services, Sportradar
  • Rosa Mota- Olympic Gold Medallist, Marathon World Champion, Vice President of the NOC Portugal, SIGA Champion
  • Sir Ronnie Flanagan- Chairman, Anti-Corruption Unit, International Cricket Council
  • Vitor Serpa - Director, A Bola / Vice President, European Sports Media