News 5th May 2015

FIFPro condemns use of lie detector tests at Czech club

FIFPro has urged players at FC Banik Most, which plays in the Czech Republic’s second division, not to take a lie detector test instigated by club management in order to ascertain if players have been involved in match-fixing. ‘Following an internal analysis of the game, the club decided to use a polygraph and refer the whole matter to the competent authorities of the FAČR [Czech Republic football association]’, read a statement from the club. ‘The club hopes that this step clearly illustrates that it rejects and will not tolerate any attempt to influence the game, and that it is ready to use any non-standard approach to investigate the players’. FC Banik said that it had implemented the step after it lost 5-2 to FC Pardubice, its ninth defeat in a row.

FIFPro, which represents national football player associations, said that it had ‘serious doubts’ about the validity of lie detector tests. “Many scientists have criticised the use of the lie detector”, said FIFPro Head of Legal Will van Megen in a 4 May statement. “They are not convinced that this tool is the most accurate to determine whether someone is telling the truth or lying. Experts say that people can cheat at these tests, that people can be influenced while taking these tests, that these tests can give the wrong results. Simply put, lie detector tests are dubious.”

In its statement, FIFPro also criticised FC Banik’s club Directors for treating their players as potential suspects, even though there is no clear evidence. It said that the Czech and Croatian association of professional footballers are ‘very concerned’ by the behaviour of the club’s management. The club is currently 15th in the 16-team league, and is ten points behind the club placed 14th. FIFPro’s statement said that the club plans to finish the season using youth players only.

In 2013, the Marylebone Cricket Club’s World Cricket Committee put forward proposals for polygraph tests to be used by the International Cricket Council (ICC) against players suspected of match-fixing, however a spokesperson told the Sports Integrity Initiative that it had “neither approved nor used lie-detectors or polygraph tests”. You can read more about the reliability of such tests in this article by Tom Burrows, a former cricketer turned sports lawyer.

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