Statement of UAF Ethics and Fair Play Committee regarding "ghost" matches

Despite the ban on the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine from holding any kind of mass and sports events, bookmakers from all over the world offered to place bets with participation of Ukrainian teams over the past month.

The UAF Ethics and Fair Play Committee, along with regional associations and the clubs themselves, found that clubs from Zaporizhzhya, Kirovohrad and Odesa regions did not actually play or intend to hold these matches. Thus, the committee found illegal acts of criminal groups that used the names of Ukrainian amateur and professional clubs, as well as false announcements of matches in order to organize the betting on them bookmakers. As a result, bookmakers have suffered significant losses from fraudulent actions by criminals.

With regard to these and other actions, the committee reviews and identifies the persons involved, and all available information has already been transmitted to the National Police of Ukraine with a statement of crime. The Committee also notes the cooperation of some of the ISPs who confirmed that their employees (scouts) broadcast the match event, but none of the ISPs assisted or reported the validity or invalidity of the match.

However, the UAF Ethics and Fair Play Committee believes that offering any football matches to bookmakers without the permission of the Ukrainian Football Association violates the rights of the latter and has high risks to the fairness of such matches. Thus, when sending their employees (scouts) to the stadium, companies do not inform the committee or UAF that bets will be placed on the match, and do not stop such broadcasts of data to bookmakers in case of suspicion of bets.

It should also be emphasized that the committee sought to cooperate with providers and did not receive any positive response. In particular, one of them replied that bookkeeping for the purpose of termination of data transfer by bookmakers cannot be carried out by UAF as it is a third party and therefore they cannot stop the transmission based on our requests.

For several years, the main goal of the committee in the fight against match-fixing is to conclude an exclusive agreement with the provider company, under which broadcasting rights would pass to the latter on a paid basis and stop broadcasting in case the committee suspects fairness of the match.

The Committee does not share opinions on the fight against fixed matches of those companies that do not stop transmitting data in case of risk of fairness of the match. The percentage of bookmaker bets turnover is their source of income, and therefore, in our view, they cannot act as an adviser on integrity issues.

In the run up to the aforementioned agreement (to be notified shortly), the committee requests that providers and their scouts abstain from illegally attending football matches in Ukraine. During future matches, the committee will act more rigorously and will notify law enforcement agencies of any event of broadcasting match data.

The committee will also establish, together with the bookmakers, a provider of match data with the participation of Ukrainian teams, and any justifications for the need to "check the fairness of matches" will be considered intentional and aimed at manipulating the results of matches.

We look forward to understanding and further cooperation.

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