2023-10-18

OSLO - Every weekend, across, Europe, hundreds of thousands of footballers play local football for fun. 

Yet around 2,000 of their games at a semi-professional and amateur level are available to bet on with mysterious illegal betting companies in the Far East.

Often linked to organised crime, these opaque betting hubs exist in isolation from the game’s authorities and the police and never reporting any suspicious bets that may indicate match-fixing. As a result, this is where match fixers and organised crime go to place their bets after corrupting games.

This project brought together journalists from Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, England, France, Norway and Poland in search of the data scouts who collect the live information from local level games that makes these in play bets possible.

The project scraped data from international betting sites, while journalists found scouts at a vast array of games from the lower leagues in Poland to amateur reserve women’s games in Belgium and seventh tier matches in England. Clubs at this level were also polled and few even knew the scouts were there or how their matches ended up on betting markets.

This project found information collected by data companies presenting two faces: that of the wholesome integrity partner that works hand-in-hand with the game’s authorities and also as suppliers to the global betting industry.

Photo credit: Samindra Kunti

Team members

Steve Menary

Steve Menary is a British journalist specialised in sports.

Steve Menary

Philippe Auclair

Philippe Auclair (UK) is a football writer, broadcaster and investigative journalist.

Philippe Auclair

Jack Kerr

Jack Kerr (Australia) is a data and OSINT journalist.

Jack Kerr

Simon Hirt

An Austrian sports journalist who deals intensively with the topic of match fixing and betting fraud.

Simon Hirt

Ondrej Tuma

Ondrej Tuma (Prague) is director of Project Football Club.

Ondrej Tuma

Mateusz Miga

Mateusz Miga (Krakow) is a sports journalist.

Mateusz Miga

Samindra Kunti

Samindra Kunti is a football journalist based in Belgium.

Samindra_Kunti

Andy Brown

Andy Brown is a freelance UK journalist who has been covering sports for over 15 years. 

Andy Brown
Media

Dype Skoger AS (Josimar)

Josimar, originally a football print magazine launched in 2009 in Norway, is the world’s only media platform devoted solely to investigative football journalism.

Josimar
Supported
€8.000,00 allocated on 11/07/2023
ID
CBL/2023/071
Grant

need resources for your own investigative story?

Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.

Apply

support independent cross-border investigative journalism

We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.

Donate