IBIA and PFA collaborate to deliver sports integrity education programme to CPL
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IBIA and PFA collaborate to deliver sports integrity education programme to CPL

In collaboration with the Professional Footballer’s Association Canada (PFA Canada), the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has recently announced their plans to design and create a two-year sports-integrity education programme to be delivered to both players and staff members of the Canadian Premier League (CPL)

This initiative is supported by an educational fund that was supplied from regulated betting operators such as bet365, Betway, and FanDuel. The fund itself amounts to a total of $300,000 CAD

The aim of this education programme is to attempt to tackle any potential match-fixing that is related to sports betting. 

The start of this programme is set to take place in May 2024, during which approximately 300 individuals will be educated about the many risks of match-fixing, as well as the great importance of maintaining the integrity of sports

What will this programme entail? 

Including both in-person training and online resources, this educational programme will cover, amongst others, the following: 

  • Rules 

  • Sanctions 

  • The use of technology in sports integrity monitoring 

The contents of this programme are considered to provide critical education to its members, and for this reason, it is already confirmed that it will be repeated in 2025

This will ensure that new players and staff members of the CFL will also receive this education, equipping them with all they need to know to safeguard their view of the importance of sports integrity. 

The IBIA already has a lot of experience in providing these types of educational programmes to European athletes. The decision to deliver this educational programme to Canada is one that will be greatly beneficial to all those who take part in it. 

With the support of member operators of the regulated iGaming market, it is possible to bring this education to the Canadian market. 

A high commitment to athlete education is integral to giving the issue of sports integrity the importance it deserves, and high-profile individuals of many iGaming operators in Canada have already expressed that they have this commitment. 

In addition to this, IBIA’s sports-integrity programme is expected to provide members of the CLA with a comprehensive approach against match-fixing. Amongst others, this includes the following: 

  • The sharing of data with sports regulators 

  • The implementation of law enforcement to investigate and sanction corrupt activities 

With Soft2Bet’s recent membership into the IBIA, the software provider’s iGaming brand, Tooniebet.com, will contribute immensely to the IBIA’s sports betting integrity monitoring platform

This platform ensures that betting integrity is being adhered to, a feat this is accomplished by detecting and reporting any signs of suspicious activity across a wide variety of iGaming platforms. 

Comments made with regards to the commencement of this initiative 

Khalid Ali, the CEO of IBIA, made the following statement with regards to this initiative: 

“IBIA’s members take their role – as responsible regulated betting operators – in protecting the integrity of sporting competition and of betting markets seriously. Alongside balanced, efficient and evidenced-based regulation, protecting soccer players, staff and officials from being targeted by criminals is an essential first step to stamping-out sports betting related match-fixing and fraud.” 

The Education Ambassador at IBIA, Jean-Francois Reymond, made the following statement: 

“We look forward to working with PFA Canada to further protect the Canadian Premier League from the threat of sports-betting related match-fixing. Protecting the integrity of sport means protecting the integrity of athletes.  

“Most often through a lack of awareness, it is the athletes who are risking their careers and livelihoods. IBIA’s objective is to help build a best-in-class programme for all athletes that serves to protect the integrity of Canadian sport and the careers of Canada’s athletes.” 

Dan Kruk, the Executive Director of PFA Canada, added the following statements: 

“IBIA has delivered sports integrity education to over 35 thousand athletes in Europe since 2010, and we’re grateful that they can leverage that know-how to design bespoke training for CPL players.  

“At PFA Canada we understand that, despite being more resource-intensive, in-person sports-integrity education is essential to gain the trust and understanding of busy athletes, and to enable full, frank and open conversations.” 

Dale Hooper, the General Manager of FanDuel Canada, stated the following:  

“At FanDuel Canada, we recognize the critical role athlete education plays in maintaining sports integrity. We are thrilled to expand our engagement with IBIA through this new partnership helping to build a curriculum that will help athletes understand their role in protecting sport.” 

The Head of International Markets at Betway’s Win Technologies division, Joachim Bjerg, also noted the following:  

“We’re very proud to partner and support IBIA and the Professional Footballers’ Association Canada that will design, create and implement a bespoke course that will further enhance Betway’s global commitment to educating players and staff involved in sport. 

“As a responsible regulated betting operator, we see our role in this sector imperative to safeguarding the integrity of sports and we very much look forward to working with IBIA on this exciting and important initiative.” 

AGCO’s Doug Hood: The importance of not ignoring the issue of Sports Integrity   

Doug Hood, the Project Director of gaming modernization at the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), has recently taken part in an interview with Insider Sport

During this interview, Hood gave his personal take on the difficulties that have inevitably come with attempting to protect sports integrity, as well as the reasons as to why one party alone cannot feasibly safeguard it

This emphasis on the importance of sports integrity comes in the wake of an avalanche of cases in the sports betting world in which several professional sport leagues had to take drastic and legal measures against their players and team members for violating their strict gambling rules.

Amongst these, Toronto Raptor’s Jontay Porter from the NBA has recently received a lifetime ban from the league after an investigation in his case revealed multiple betting irregularities. 

Not too long after Porter, former defensive lineman Shawn Lemon from the Canadian Football League (CFL) also came under fire for several betting policy violations. 

With Porter and Lemon, there are several other cases that have recently surfaced, all involving members of professional sporting leagues violating gambling rules. 

In the rather enlightening interview that Hood took part in, the AGCO Project Director commented at length on the drastic need to not minimize the importance of sports integrity

More specifically, Hood elaborated on the way in which the burden of protecting the integrity of sports should not solely fall on the shoulders of one entity but, rather, it must be shared between operators, regulators, as well as sports administrators

“We have been specifically and strongly committed to protecting sports betting integrity from the outset – it really is at the heart of the regulatory framework that we set up in 2022. Sports betting integrity involves a complex ecosystem and our role within it is nuanced. The crucial word for us is ‘betting’ as we have oversight of the betting markets but do not regulate sport – and nobody wants us to. 

“While we directly regulate the gaming operators and service providers in Ontario’s regulated sports betting market, the betting integrity component is a space where we have to work collaboratively given that sports are being bet on around the globe and we only have one piece of the puzzle. A key for us in these first couple of years, then, has been to develop a strong network of relationships across industry, integrity organisations, sports leagues and law enforcement.” 

Sports betting scandals that have recently blown up  

MLB star Shohei Ohtani's longtime interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara 

Another scandal in the world of sports betting that has recently been the talk of many takes us from the NBL to the world of professional baseball

This particular scandal involves popular MLB star Shohei Ohtani and his longtime interpreter and close friend Ippei Mizuhara

Major League Baseball star Shohei Ohtani has stated that he was ‘beyond shocked’ to hear that Ippei Mizuhara, his longtime interpreter, had allegedly stolen more than $4.5 million from his bank account to use on illegal sports betting, and thus to fund his gambling addiction. 

Mizuhara is being accused of this massive theft by the lawyers hired to defend the Dodgers’ star player. 

The discovery of this alleged theft was made following an investigation into Matthew Bowyer, a bookmaker living in Orange County, California, who is suspected of carrying out illegal gambling activities

During this investigation, the name Shohei Ohtani was discovered in the bookmaker’s books

After further investigation into this matter, it was discovered that Ippei Mizuhara, the baseball star’s interpreter and trusted friend, had, allegedly, been the one responsible of stealing millions of dollars from Ohtani’s bank account in order to pay the illegal bookmaker currently being investigated. 

In recent weeks, the alleged theft that took place from the MLB star’s banking account has opened up a significantly larger issue that lies at the core of sports betting. 

Toronto Raptors Forward Jontay Porter permanently banned from the NBA 

Jontay Porter, a professional basketball player for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA), has recently been under investigation for multiple betting irregularities that have been discovered in recent months. 

The National Basketball Association is currently investigating the matter in question.  

The betting irregularities being investigated include prop bets on the player's scoring, rebound and assist totals garnered from a few of the games in which he took part in these past few months. 

If you’d like to know more about this still developing story, make sure to read the full article where we will explain all that has been uncovered so far

Shawn Lemon indefinitely suspended by CFL for violating gambling rules 

Shawn Lemon is a former Canadian football defensive lineman who has recently retired from the Canadian Football League (CFL)

The end of his impressive career, one that spanned a grand total of 13 seasons, was announced on April 10th, 2024

Only a few weeks after this announcement, an investigation into Lemon’s case revealed that there were multiple instances in which Lemon was in direct violation of the rules of the CFL. 

During the time that he was still acting as an active player in the league, Lemon had allegedly placed several sports betting wagers on games of the CFL, including bets on games that he himself had played in

This news comes as a shock to many of his peers, especially in light of the way in which less than a month has passed since Lemon announced his retirement from the Canadian Football League. 

Following this discovery, and the investigation that preceded it, Lemon was immediately handed an indefinite suspension, thus preventing him from ever returning to the CFL. 

The CFL is the latest professional sports league to take action on their players for violating their strict gambling rules. 

They are not, however, alone in this venture. In recent months alone, the NBA, MLB and the NFL have all experienced similar cases of players breaking their league’s gambling rules. 

The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) 

The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) describe themselves as follows: 

“The International Betting Integrity Association is the leading global voice on integrity for the licensed betting industry. Our Monitoring & Alert Platform is a highly effective anti-corruption tool designed to detect and report suspicious betting activity using detailed consumer data. For more details click on the map or consult our integrity report. 

“Our Monitoring & Alert Platform is a highly effective anti-corruption tool that detects and reports suspicious activity on our members’ betting markets. We have longstanding information sharing partnerships with leading sports bodies including FIFA, UEFA, ITIA and the IOC and many gambling regulators to utilise this data and prosecute corruption."

The Professional Footballer’s Association Canada (PFA) 

The Professional Footballer’s Association (PFA) describe their role and what the Association entails in the following way: 

“While players do their part on the pitch to establish professional soccer as an integral part of Canada’s sporting culture, PFA Canada develops player-centred policies to support member development through consultation, research, and presentation of findings.  

“PFA Canada is a democratic organization run by the players, for the players. Members elect a Board of Directors made up of current and former professionals who are responsible for the business of the union. The Board of Directors is supported by the Executive Director and legal counsel."

About the authorMelanie Cazenave
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