Jacek Wojdyla: helping FIFA spot suspicious matches

FIFAEWS-JacekWojdylaJacek Wojdyla, Head of International Affairs at FIFA’s integrity subsidiary Early Warning System (EWS), explains how the organisation is approaching things during Brazil 2014.

How will EWS be operating over the World Cup? How do you analyse a suspicious game?

After the risk assessment pre-work, we will monitor the WC based on our 3-pillar strategy:

1. Technical monitoring of the global sports betting market (live monitoring)

2. Cooperation with betting industry (operators and regulators),

3. Connecting with informants on-site.

We have prepared a work schedule (shift/night work) to cover all 64 matches with a live monitoring. During a live monitoring, our EWS specialists will monitor betting offers, odds movements and liquidities of relevant international operators in Asia, Europe etc. In case of irregularities, our specialist will cross check the sportive background and connect with our partners to get additional input to make sound and fact based conclusions. The next step would be to create a comprehensive report for FIFA. Based on the defined process FIFA will take up the case and make further investigation on the suspicious match.

There‘s been a LOT of negative press about fixing over the past few weeks. Has it been blown a little out of proportion?

First of all, EWS is following a decent communication strategy focusing on its core business; EWS would never make high level statements and disclose any information on detected suspicious matches or on-going investigations. We are committed to our policy to deliver fact-based monitoring/analysis and prevent any speculations. We are aware of the enhanced media coverage prior to the World Cup concerning match-manipulation and integrity matters.

ESSA has suggested there were around 56 unusual betting patterns for football in 2013. Is that around the right level? How many of those are deemed more serious?

ESSA and EWS are trustful partners in this field. We refer to ESSA’s integrity report and will not make further comments on ESSA figures. EWS has monitored approx. 1500 in 2013 and has reported suspicious betting activities to FIFA and other clients (we do not disclose any figures).

Are there too many sporting integrity bodies now? Is there a danger of diluting the expertise and/or message?

We follow carefully the market and developments in this field and see a growing business with organisations entering the ‘integrity’ market. EWS generally welcomes higher awareness on the growing issue of match manipulation and is open for a dialogue with relevant stakeholders including trustful and reputable organisations which have the same objective on protecting the integrity of sports. EWS is a non-commercial subsidiary of FIFA with long term expertise and its core competencies include assessing risks and analysing, detecting and reporting suspicious betting activities. We do not compete with other sport integrity bodies.

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