Kindred Group chief executive Henrik Tjärnström described match-fixing as one of the biggest threats facing professional sport, when announcing the operator's involvement in Fair Sports 4 All, its latest collaboration with the European Football for Development Network (EFDN).
Kindred originally partnered with the network last year, becoming its first commercial community partner. It has since collaborated on projects such as Active Fans, a programme aimed at encouraging over 35s to keep physically active, and #supporterofeachother, a campaign to encourage individuals, sports teams and companies to support one another through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fair Sports 4 All is the latest in this series of collaborations, and focuses on the battle against match-fixing in professional sport.
The project will involve online education and networking for elite sports clubs, athletes, players and managers. Although the project is aimed primarily at the football industry, other mainstream sports will be able to benefit from its guidelines.
The aim is to increase awareness of match-fixing among players, managers and other stakeholders in professional sport. Those receiving the training will also learn coping skills for resisting the temptation of match-fixing, and how best to report suspected match-fixing to the relevant authorities.
“Match-fixing is a threat to the fundamental idea of sports,” Kindred CEO Tjärnström said. “Billions of people around the world enjoy participating in or consuming sport, and if the unpredictability of sport events is taken away, this fundamental idea is in severe jeopardy.
Explaining the relevance for Kindred, he continued: “Match-fixing is also a threat to the gambling industry. If people lose faith in the honesty of sports events, they will lose faith in betting products as well. Therefore we are excited for the Fair Sports 4 All project where we can, together with EFDN, truly make a difference and together fight this very important battle.”
Hubert Rovers, CEO of the EFDN added: “We are proud to launch the programme together with Kindred, a competent partner with a sustainability-driven approach for sponsorships and community initiatives.”
While the betting industry is vocal about the dangers of match-fixing, the scale of the problem is difficult to ascertain. The industry's main integrity watchdog, the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), reported an increase in suspicious activity for the first quarter of 2020, while the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) which monitors betting across lottery-operated sportsbooks, highlighted a decline.