IBIA and Professional Footballers’ Association Canada join forces

May 9, 2024 7:51 PM
  • Mark Keast, CDC Gaming Reports
May 9, 2024 7:51 PM
  • Mark Keast, CDC Gaming Reports

The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) and its members bet365, Betway, and FanDuel are partnering with the Professional Footballers’ Association Canada to put together a two-year sports-integrity education program for players and staff in the Canadian Premier League (CPL).

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The CPL is a professional men’s soccer league in Canada with eight teams, located in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. The season is now underway.

The program, founded on a $300,000 commitment over three years by IBIA and its member operators, starts this month. More then 300 players and staff will be educated about the potential threat of sports-betting-related match fixing.

Training will be repeated in 2025 to ensure new players entering the CPL will also have the tools to protect themselves from criminals and those looking to corrupt the game. Players and staff will be in a position to report any suspicious activity.

There will be in-person training as well as access to online resources. The in-person sessions will get into the environment in which the players are operating, including rules and sanctions, while showing them the scale and accuracy of technology-enabled sports-integrity monitoring.

“IBIA’s members take their role as responsible regulated betting operators in protecting the integrity of sporting competition and of betting markets seriously,” said Khalid Ali, CEO of IBIA, in a statement. “Alongside balanced, efficient, and evidenced-based regulation, protecting soccer players, staff, and officials from being targeted by criminals is an essential first step to stamping-out sports-betting-related match fixing and fraud.”

In the end, according to Jean-Francois Reymond, IBIA’s Education Ambassador, the threat of sports-betting-related match fixing is for real. “Most often through a lack of awareness, it is the athletes who are risking their careers and livelihoods. IBIA’s objective is to help build a best-in-class program for all athletes that serves to protect the integrity of Canadian sport and the careers of Canada’s athletes.”

Added Dan Kruk, executive director of PFA Canada, “IBIA has delivered sports-integrity education to over thirty-five thousand athletes in Europe since 2010, and we’re grateful that they can leverage that know-how to design a bespoke training for CPL players. At PFA Canada we understand that, despite being more resource-intensive, in-person sports- integrity education is essential to gain the trust and understanding of busy athletes, and to enable full, frank and open conversations.”

IBIA currently represents over 60% of the private sports-betting operators licensed in Ontario. All online sports-betting operators licensed in Ontario need to be part of a betting-integrity monitoring body.

In their Q1 2024 report, the IBIA detailed 56 alerts globally during the quarter. IBIA alerts contributed to the investigations and sanctioning of 21 clubs, players, and officials in 2023. In 2022, 15 were sanctioned.