FIFA Monitoring Online Gambling Activity

Published Sunday, October 11, 2009 -

If someone places a bet on a sporting event such as football online they expect the game to be a fair shake. That is what keeps the gaming world going a certain amount of trust is put in the system. To ensure that the football matches involved in the FIFA World Cupâ„¢ are above board the Early Warning System a gambling surveillance firm is watching online wagering sites for any sign of suspect activity.

Originally a pilot project to monitor betting on the 06 Fifa World Cup in Germany, it became established in 2007 as a FIFA subsidiary organization. The company has connected with more than 400 sports betting providers who have contractually agreed to report any irregular betting activities immediately. The firm has expanded to monitoring programs for FIFA member associations and club competitions. Not surprisingly in 2008, EWS was asked by the International Olympic Committee to check for any suspicious betting patterns related to the Games in Beijing.

Besides following the range of odds being offered on each game, the sophisticated software employed by the Early Warning System, includes an instant messaging service which any of the bookmakers can use to identify unusual betting patterns.

Head of Competition Analysis for EWS, Detlev Zenglein, commented, "We can say with confidence that we have seen no evidence of suspicious betting patterns going on in any of these international matches." The larger matches are not likely to have illegal betting to appear there is too much at stake to much risk. the players are well paid at this stage of a competition. The watchful EWS team are keeping an eye on the "lesser" games, where little is at stake in sporting terms at least. The EWS firm uses sound judgement when determining whether anything underhanded is taking place.

"But just because we have not found any evidence, that does not of course mean that no illegal activity has taken place. When it comes to comparisons with other areas of sporting corruption, such as in the fight against anti-doping we are at a early stage. If you take a 100 metres race as an analogy for how far we have come, then I would say we have only recently heard the starter's pistol." Zenglein candidly said.

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