Integrity: No concerns at EURO

The introduction of a comprehensive integrity programme for UEFA EURO 2016 proved a positive move, and no integrity issues were reported at the final tournament in France.

The EURO referee teams were given a full integrity briefing at their preparatory workshop in April
The EURO referee teams were given a full integrity briefing at their preparatory workshop in April ©Sportsfile

UEFA's integrity programme at UEFA EURO 2016 has been an unqualified success.

The European body announced that no integrity concerns arose at any of the 51 matches at the tournament in France – justifying the introduction for the first time of a comprehensive integrity programme which kicked off two months ahead of the event.

The programme included education, monitoring and cooperation with key stakeholders, with particular emphasis given to preventing any issues related to match-fixing and betting irregularities.

UEFA's EURO integrity drive began in Paris in April, when the 18 teams of match officials selected to referee at the tournament received a match-fixing prevention presentation at their preparatory workshop. The fundamentals of the problem were explained to the referees and their assistants, including how to react to an approach from a match-fixer, how the use of 'inside information' can be detrimental, and how betting on competition matches was not allowed.

Following this, each of the 24 participating teams received a similar presentation during the course of their preparatory friendly matches. A short video produced in the 18 languages of the teams was shown at these prevention sessions. The video and presentations firmly emphasised the fact that match-fixing is a criminal offence in France, and that any suspicious activity would be dealt with by both UEFA and local law enforcement agencies.

As with all of UEFA's competition matches, betting patterns for the final tournament matches were monitored by the UEFA Betting Fraud Detection System. The objective was to detect any irregularities that could indicate manipulation. No irregularities were detected at any of the 51 matches.

A working group comprising key stakeholders was established to ensure that UEFA was fully prepared to deal with any eventual incident. The French police and justice department, France's online gambling authority ARJEL, Europol, UEFA's monitoring partner Sportradar and the French state lottery joined forces with UEFA, and met regularly during the EURO to guarantee that the correct procedures were followed.

In addition to the education programme for all players and match officials, the 6,500 volunteers working at UEFA EURO 2016 undertook an e-learning programme which included a module on match-fixing.

"We are very satisfied with the outcome of the integrity programme specifically launched for the first time at a EURO," said UEFA's head of disciplinary and integrity Emilio Garcia.

"In close cooperation with the French police and other key stakeholders, we have guaranteed a secure football tournament in terms of betting alarms," he added. "The analysis carried out by the specific UEFA working group showed that EURO matches had been played without any integrity concerns."