3rd September 2019

Malta Gaming Authority establishes Sports Integrity Unit

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has established a Sports Integrity Unit (SIU), over a year after the island country’s government announced that the SIU would be included in a new Bill aimed at tackling corruption in sport. The Bill was originally drafted in February 2017, but faced passage difficulties such as the removal of measures designed to protect the anonymity of witnesses. It is understood that the Bill (PDF below) has yet to be passed.

‘The Sports Integrity Unit’s role will consist of the gathering of intelligence and information relating to suspicious betting and will serve as a liaison with local and foreign regulatory authorities, law enforcement agencies, betting monitoring systems, sporting bodies and gaming operators in order to investigate irregular and suspicious betting activity’, read an MGA statement. ‘Furthermore, the Unit will also be liaising with other Directorates within the MGA to implement various policy initiatives, such as bringing into force the provisions at law relating to the reporting of suspicious betting activity by gaming operators to the MGA, signing agreements and deepening collaboration with entities having similar objectives and otherwise establishing a culture of cooperation amongst industry stakeholders to tackle the worldwide problem of corruption in sports.’

Malta has faced numerous allegations involving corruption in football. In January last year, UEFA sanctioned six Malta U21 players for match-fixing. In March 2017, FIFPro warned players against joining two clubs due to cramped conditions and salaries not being paid on time. One of these clubs, Pembroke Athleta FC, was later charged for involvement in match-fixing. In July 2017, a Birkirkara FC player lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) alleging that the club forced him to falsely confess to match-fixing.

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