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Stats Perform to use Opta data and video analysis in new integrity tool

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Data provider Stats Perform has launched a new performance integrity analysis service - which uses its performance analysis tools to flag potentially suspicious activity - as part of its integrity offering.
Football tactics board player tracking

The data business will use its Opta database, alongside video performance analysis and a series of advanced models to assess performances for integrity purposes.

The service sees Stats use statistics such as expected goals as well as player tracking data to help with investigations. These, as well as video analysis, are used alongside its existing integrity tools based on suspicious bet reports to create a more complete picture.

“In one case two football matches were referred to Stats Perform for analysis which had been highlighted as high risk due to suspicions around a predetermined sporting fix between the two sides,” the data provider said.

“The analysis revealed a demonstrably low lack of attacking intent from one team in the first match, including an historically low Expected Goals total and among the lowest pressing statistics in the entire Opta database.

“Other investigations have shown changes in formation by teams in specific periods of matches, as well as individual errors aligned with suspicious moves in betting markets.”

Stats Perform said that performance analysis had previously only played a peripheral role in the sporting integrity conversation, owing to the fact that the data required had “lack[ed] the necessary robustness for disciplinary proceedings”.

However, it said that its use of the Opta database, as the largest performance analysis database in sport, combined with a transparent methodology, allow it to introduce these tools to integrity investigations for the first time.

Multiple football governing bodies have already employed the service for use in match-fixing cases. 

“As with every element of sport integrity, success is built on a unified combination of measures across prevention, detection and investigation,” Jake Marsh, global head of integrity at Stats Perform, said. “Sport governing bodies have been calling for professional performance analysis to support the fight against match-fixing and we have answered that call. 

“This is an additional tool and deterrent in the fight against sporting corruption, and a new front in maintaining the integrity of sport.”

Alex Rice, chief rights officer for Stats Perform, said Opta had long proved to be a valuable tool in assessing player performance and it made sense to put it to use for integrity reasons as well.

“Opta data is the most trusted, accurate and largest performance database in the industry,” Rice said. “We’ve been using it in the media and elite team performance space for years but by switching the perspective, we’re able to help answer questions about the integrity of a match using a professional approach and methodology.”

Stats Perform’s work on integrity issues has also seen it become the first data provider to receive the International Betting Integrity Association’s (IBIA) Data Standards Accreditation for betting data collection. 

These standards were set out by the IBIA in October 2020 and include a requirement that all data collection be carried out by people aged 18 and above, whose identities have been verified. Data providers must also carry out a detailed risk assessment for all sporting events or competitions on which they collect data and must make clear how the data was collected.

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