The Polish Football Association (PZPN) is cooperating with the country’s law enforcement to thwart what it describes as a rising wave of match-fixing by international criminal groups who earn substantial winnings from bets.
The association said in a statement that its representatives have sent data to law enforcement on 11 football matches which were believed to be tampered with by foreign criminals, requesting that prosecutors launch investigations.
“Since the final phase of the 2021/2022 season, the Polish Football Association has observed an increase in the activities of international criminal groups which attempt to illegally gain control over the course of football matches … which are the subject of bets, in particular in the lower ties” of Poland’s professional football league, the PZPN said.
The association said that in June its disciplinary proceedings representative warned Polish football clubs about the rising number of such incidents, in particular in the Third League, the fourth tier of the country’s professional football league, as well as lower tiers.
“For many years, the matches of [the top tier] Ekstraklasa and [second tier] First League have been analysed by Swiss company Sportradar to monitor the risks related to bets. In these matches, the risk of match-fixing has so far been efficiently minimalised,” according to the statement.
Starting with the 2022/2023 season, the PZPN decided to extend the scope of its cooperation with the sports technology company. The Swiss firm will now also monitor the matches played by clubs from the Second League, Third League and the Central Juniors’ League under a contract the PZPN signed with Sportradar in August.
“The reports we have received during the 2022/2023 season from the Sportradar Universal Fraud Detection System (UFDS) confirm the interest in the matches played by Polish teams, in particular in the Third League, by persons who place bets, in particular in Asia,” according to the PZPN.
“The Polish Football Association is declaring its full readiness to cooperate with law enforcement institutions within the field of preventing match-fixing,” the association said.
The latest development follows reports in the Polish media that some clubs which compete in the Third League in the country’s Western Pomerania region are suspected of having flagged match-fixing alerts within Poland-based bookmakers.
In its statement, the PZPN warned Polish clubs they could be relegated to lower tiers if they are found to be involved in match-fixing.
“Those football clubs whose matches, due to suspicious bets, could indicate the presence of match-fixing have to immediately take the necessary measures to make their footballers aware of their potential disciplinary and criminal responsibility in the case if match-fixing is detected,” the association said.
“The PZPN expects those clubs to demonstrate an unequivocal position in relation to this issue,” according to the statement.
Article 46 of the Act on Sport states that persons who accept material or personal benefits in exchange for engaging in unfair behaviour that could affect the results of a sports competition could be sentenced to between six months and eight years of prison.
In addition, under Article 47 of the act, placing bets while having knowledge of such an illegal activity can result in a sentence of between three months and five years of prison.