This was 2.3% higher than the previous record of 883 suspicious matches recorded in 2018.
The matches took place over 10 different sports across 76 countries. They were flagged by Sportradar’s Universal Fraud Detection System (UFDS), a bet monitoring system which detects instances of suspicious betting activity during matches.
Looking at the reports by continent, most suspicious matches were recorded in Europe, with 525 in total. Asia saw the second most, at 161, followed by South America with 131.
Football had the by far the most instances of suspicious matches, totaling 694. Basketball was second with 62 and tennis came in third with 53.
Over the full year, the largest numbers of suspicious matches were flagged in September and October, with 105 and 104 respectively. This lines up with the beginning of the football calendar in Europe, with the season traditionally beginning in late summer.
Elsewhere in the report, Sportradar’s Global Betting Turnover Model estimated that total turnover for sports betting in 2021 reached €1.45tn.
Football accounted for €745bn of this, 51% of the overall turnover, while tennis followed with €190bn. Basketball made up €185bn of the turnover.
Looking to 2022, the report estimates that the number of suspicious matches will grow as disruptions from the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic become less common.
“The global issues of the past few years have put financial pressure on competitions, teams and athletes, and match-fixers are clearly taking advantage,” said Andreas Krannich, managing director at Sportradar. “In 2021 we witnessed a record number of suspicious matches.
“Although this is a very small percentage of the total number of matches played globally in sport, and the vast majority of events are free from corruption, our data clearly shows that match-fixing remains a constant and growing threat across the world of sport.”