Anti-Match Fixing Research Project

The Birkbeck Sport Business Centre has been involved in a number of research projects providing support to different organisations’ efforts to combat the phenomenon of match-fixing in sport.

In 2012, Dr Andy Harvey, Research Associate at the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre and Teaching Assistant in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck, was  successful in gaining funding for research into match fixing in professional football in Europe, with a view to preparing educational materials to combat the phenomenon. The project, entitled Don’t Fix It!, was funded by the European Commission’s Sport Unit as part of its 2012 Preparatory Action – a series of complementary projects focusing on the prevention of match-fixing episodes through the education and information of relevant stakeholders, such as athletes, referees, match officials and sports administrators. The project is being led by FIFPro, the world professional footballers’ union, and is co-funded by UEFA, the European governing body for football, while Birkbeck, under Dr Harvey’s direction, provides full research support.

On the 5th and 6th June 2013, in Budapest, Hungary, FIFPro organised a two-day training programme for all participating countries in the anti-match-fixing Don’t Fix It! project. Andy Harvey discussed the project’s progress in an interview with the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre’s website  highlighting some interim conclusions as well as his expectations from the project going forward.

In October 2013, following match fixing cases involving British players in Australian football, Andy shared his expert opinion with BBC Sport. Andy also discussed the problem of match-fixing in a number of other media outlets, including Sky Sports, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Birmingham, and BBC World News TV.

Andy discusses his research on anti-match-fixing in the following interview conducted in March 2014.

In the Spring of 2013 the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre was commissioned to conduct a scoping study as part of Transparency International UK’s project – ‘Staying on side: How to stop match fixing’ – which aims to develop anti-match fixing educational and prevention programmes and materials that can be used by the football leagues across Europe to educate key football industry stakeholders. The research was co-authored by Haim Levi, Research Assistant, and Sean Hamil, Director, both of the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre. The Research was presented at a ‘Corruption in Sport’ event, organised by Transparency International UK, where Mr Hamil was one of the keynote speakers.

In November 2013 the Centre hosted investigative journalist and academic Dr Declan Hill, one of the world’s foremost experts on the subject of the match-fixing phenomenon, for the launch of his book, The Insider’s Guide to Match Fixing in Football;  the book draws on Dr Hill’s doctoral research art Oxford University.  Dr Hill’s presentation, which formed part of the Birkbeck Sport Business Seminar Series,  sparked a lively debate. Declan offered the audience his view as to how sporting organisations and public authorities should address the problem of match-fixing. The event was broadcast live to an international audience while the video recording is available on the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre website.

CaptureIn June 2014, following the year long programme of research, a Good Practice Guide  designed to challenge the scourge of match-fixing in football, written by Dr Andy Harvey, was published (a copy can be downloaded here or by clicking on the image).

The main results were presented at the closing conference of Don’t Fix It! – the anti-match-fixing partnership between the international footballers’ association FIFPro, the governing body of European football UEFA, and Birkbeck, University of London, in Ljubljana, Slovenia on the 3rd and 4th June 2014.

The full results of the survey data from the Don’t Fix It! players survey can be found in:

Andy Harvey summarises the results of the Don’t Fix It! project in an interview with Birkbeck journalism student Caterina Mirra in February 2015.

Impact developments following from the Don’t Fix It!  research project were discussed further at a roundtable panel debate at Birkbeck on Tuesday 2nd June 2015 consisting of Birkbeck’ Dr Andy Harvey, FIFPro’s Tony Higgins, and prominent sport lawyer and legal expert on anti-match-fixing strategies Kevin Carpenter. Andy Harvey drew on recent academic publications arising from the Don’t Fix It! project which are listed on the roundtable panel webpage.

Two academic publications have appeared following on from the Don’t Fix It! research:

The Birkbeck Sport Business Centre first took an interest in the match-fixing issue in 2009 when it staged a seminar on the Birkbeck Sport Business Seminar Series on the subject of combating match-fixing in tennis.