Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, Global CEO of the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA), Chairman and CEO, SIGA LATIN AMERICA, has raised alarm bells about the pervasive threat of match-fixing in the world of sports, emphasising that no country, region, or Sport is immune to its influence. Speaking in a recent interview with radio i955fm, Macedo de Medeiros referred to a specific incident in Trinidad and Tobago as just the tip of the iceberg, underlining the gravity of the issue that involves billions of dollars and often organised crime. He stressed that to protect Sport Integrity, it is imperative to acknowledge the reality and take immediate action by implementing robust licensing processes for betting operators and prioritising training, education, and capacity building.
“Match-fixing is global, and it is serious. It involves billions and often organised crime. So if we really want to tackle it properly, if we really are committed to safeguarding the integrity of Sport and all its constituents, our first duty is to acknowledge the reality and to accept that there is still a lot to be done to improve the way sports organisations and sports as a whole Is governed and operates. This implies a significant responsibility for sports organisations and governments, as governments are entrusted by the people through democratic processes to safeguard public interest. And, of course, Sport is a matter of public interest. Sports organisations can do a lot alone and do have the responsibility. However, in matters of public order, they lack the legal means, jurisdiction, or expertise”.
Macedo de Medeiros also clarified the distinction between match-fixing and sports betting, emphasising that not all sports betting is illicit, and sports betting companies are often victims of match-fixing. Match-fixing involves deliberately manipulating sporting results, threatening the essence of sports, its trustworthiness, and its economic viability. He called on Trinidad and Tobago, along with other countries, to take this issue seriously, stating that the problem is not confined to any specific region and has far-reaching consequences for both the sporting world and the wider economy:
“Regulating the market is the first step to avoid illegal betting and the pernicious influence of gambling syndicates based in other jurisdictions. Jurisdictions that operate under the radar, with poor regulatory requirements. A robust regulatory framework through the legislation ensures that sports organisations are part of the solution by promoting training, education, and capacity building of their clubs, athletes, coaches, and all staff with privileged information… We need to acknowledge that the existing regulatory frameworks, not just in Trinidad and Tobago but at the World level, are insufficient, outdated and ineffective to tackle the problem, the real threat of match-fixing. If we allow this to happen, we are also responsible. Once the reputation of Sport is tarnished, it will be very difficult to recover it. So, the time is for action”.
SIGA is actively cooperating with countries such as Brazil, US authorities, and European sports organisations to put in practice some of the solutions designed by their experts. Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros offered the coalition’s support to tackle the issue in Trinidad and Tobago: “SIGA offers a set of solutions to ensure modern, adequate, robust legislation. We are prepared and equipped to establish a constructive dialogue and an action-oriented relationship with the relevant authorities in Trinidad and Tobago and the Pan American sports governing body, as we are doing, for example, in Brazil, a market of 220 million inhabitants. We are also working with the United States. Seeing how Sport neglected the dangers of an unregulated market opening is frustrating. In the United States, sports organisations privileged the economic impact of the opening of the betting market. They did not pay sufficient attention to integrity. And that is the cause of many metrics and incidents happening across a series of sports, including Esports”.
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SIGA is the world’s leading organisation for Sport Integrity. We are creating a whole new landscape for the sports industry by delivering independent global rating and certification for world Sport to ensure it is governed and operates under the highest integrity standards: The SIGA Universal Standards.
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