TOGETHER AGAINST
MATCH-FIXING

#dontfixthegame
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BACKGROUND

Football should be fair, attractive, honest and exciting but football can only be exciting if nobody knows in advance what will happen in the 90 minutes or longer which a match takes to run. Only if this condition is fulfilled can football continue to delight millions of spectators in stadiums, sports grounds and those watching on screens week after week.

The decisive issue in competition in sport is the inability to have any influence on a game, to know how it will progress or know what the outcome will be. This requirement must be preserved absolutely.

Manipulation of games endangers the integrity of fair competition and undermines the credibility of the sport itself, the players and the referees. Manipulation destroys the credibility of fair sport competition.

The DFB and DFL have long been aware of their responsibilities to protect the integrity of fair competition against the dangers resulting from the manipulation of matches. With the commencement of the project “Together against match-fixing – don’t fix the game!” in 2010 the preventative measures taken have been packaged and grouped into four pillars of activities. The objective of this project is to inform all those active in the domain of football early on about the dangers emanating from gambling addiction and from match-fixing, then to take preventative measures.

While the communication of information and education were focussed on youth players at the start, the measures to combat manipulation of matches have been strengthened over the course of time and since the 2017/2018 season the obligation to attend prevention workshops has been extended to the licensed, i.e. professional teams of the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga.

Match-fixing

There are two fundamental types of match-fixing, pure sport manipulation and betting-related manipulation.

Sport manipulation is about influencing the progression and outcome of a professional sport match in such a way as to adversely influence fair competition in favour of the opponents and could be in order to either gain an advantage for players or for a third party. Exceptions to this are actions which are exclusively aimed at securing a sport-related advantage (e.g. intentional foul play). Actions such as these could still be sanctioned in accordance with the Legal and Procedural Regulations of the DFB. The reasons for an instance of pure sport manipulation could be of a sporting nature (e.g. to secure a promotion, avoid relegation, qualify to take part in an international competition, in order to have an easier opponent for the next match as a result of a match lost intentionally) or they could be of a financial nature. However, there is no connection between sport manipulation and the placing of bets. A sport-related manipulation is not only sanctionable in accordance with the regulations of the DFB, it could constitute a criminal offence in accordance with § 265d of the German Criminal Code. Further information about the relevant legal basis can be found here.

Pure sport manipulation does not present the biggest danger. The danger which is by far the most significant does not originate within the world of football but rather from networks of organised crime from outside the world of football. These people try to get players, referees, coaches or management to manipulate matches with the intention of making large profits on the world betting market. These criminals target all those who either directly or indirectly could influence the progression of a match and put these people under considerable pressure.

One such influence on the progression and result of a match with the intention of winning and cashing in on the proceeds of the associated bets is termed betting-related match-fixing and is punishable in accordance with § 265d of the German Criminal Code.

In principal any type of sport and any league can be affected. Taking into account that by far the most sporting bets are placed on football matches, this is where special care is required. That is why the prevention of the manipulation of matches is taken most seriously by the DFB and DFL who act together in the interests of German football.

Sports betting

Sports betting companies make use of the world-wide popularity of football as the basis of their businesses. The market for sports betting has grown continuously during recent years and has already reached a value worth billions. Betting on football is particularly popular. For bookmakers it is not uncommon to offer up to ten different pre-match bets for all Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga games, i.e. bets that can be placed prior to the match. The current world-wide turnover of bets on German football is around €40 billion.

It is important to know that according to § 1 no. 2 and 3 of the Legal and Procedural Rules of the DFB; players, coaches, officials and referees are prohibited from betting on games of their own team or on games of competitions in which the own team participates. This also applies to bets on games or competitions in which other teams of the same club participate (for example youth teams, second teams). In addition, third parties (such as family, friends or acquaintances) must not be asked to place such bets themselves. Furthermore, according to the Youth Protection Act, betting (and all other types of gambling) is prohibited for anyone under the age of 18.

Gambling addiction

You could well ask what the connection between gambling addiction and the manipulation of matches is. People who take part in gambling do not immediately become addicted. However, it can happen that after a first win, an individual could think that they have luck on their side, particularly if they have special knowledge and capabilities, such as a footballer betting on football matches for example. Naturally this is an illusion. The betting on football matches and on sport in general is gambling and will remain so. Having lost money once, there is a danger of placing higher bets and gambling more often, possibly with money which has been borrowed. In this way debts and dependencies can be created.

The few persons who misuse football and football betting to their advantage by manipulating a sporting event know only too well what they are doing. Betting dishonestly always requires the use of someone within the world of football who can be made use of in order to achieve a desired result. In return, money may be offered or gambling debts written-off. The opportunity may seem enticing but anyone succumbing to this temptation becomes the object of the game himself and then becomes the loser. It develops into a vicious circle which can only be broken with help from outside.

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OUR MEASURES

Football recognised the dangers resulting from the manipulation of world competitions early on. Already in 2010, the DFL with the support of the organisation “Transparency International Deutschland e.V” established the project “Transparenz und Integrität im Fußball” (“Transparency and Integrity in Football”). The objective of the project was to develop and implement concrete measures in order to identify and prevent manipulation of matches and other irregularities in the running of football matches, thus protecting in particular the credibility of sporting competition.

In 2012 the DFB and DFL joined forces to work together on the project “Together against match-fixing – don’t fix the game!” and have developed this project continuously since then. The emphasis of this project is to inform not only players but also coaches, referees, club officials, management, and everyone associated with these about the dangers emanating from gambling addiction and from match-fixing and also to take appropriate preventative measures.

The preventative measures of “Together against match-fixing” have been packaged and grouped into four pillars of activities:

  1. Prevention workshops

  2. Rules and regulations

  3. Ombudsman

  4. Monitoring

Prevention workshops

The DFB and DFL have developed a comprehensive programme of prevention workshops which initially concentrated primarily on youth players. Since the 2014/15 season the youth academies of the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga clubs have committed themselves, starting from the U16 age group, to holding annual workshops on the prevention of gambling addiction and match-fixing, and to provide proof to the DFL that these have been carried out.

With effect starting from the 2018/19 season the licensed, i.e. professional teams of all 36 clubs of the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga have committed themselves to participating once per season in a workshop on the prevention of match-fixing. As is the case for the youth academies, participation in these workshops is a pre-condition for the issue of a licence to compete in the respective leagues. The workshops for the licensing teams are conducted uniformly by Sportradar on behalf of the DFL.

An app and an e-learning tutorial have been developed to supplement the workshops and via the DFL Integrity App messages to report irregularities can be sent directly to the ombudsman. The app is free and available in the App Stores while the e-learning tutorial is reserved for the players of the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga licensed teams and those in youth teams. It is only accessible via a log-in. In the e-learning tutorial details of the most important rules of behaviour and legal conditions are explained, as also are possible consequences. 

Rules and regulations

The DFB and DFL have incorporated a range of rules in their regulations and contract documents which form a regulatory basis for combating match-fixing. This concerns on the one hand the requirements for licensing (e.g. the obligation to hold workshops) and on the other hand prohibitions and obligations (e.g. the prohibition of match-fixing, prohibition of betting, prohibition of disclosure of inside information and the obligation to report, all of which are entrenched in the DFB Legal and Procedural Regulations. The DFB Legal and Procedural Regulations relevant to match-fixing are also incorporated in the employment contracts for professional and contract players as well as the promotion contracts for youth players.

Further information about the relevant legal basis can be found here.

Ombudsman

One of the first and most important preventative measures was the appointment of an ombudsman in 2011. The joint ombudsman for the DFB and DFL, lawyer Dr Carsten Thiel von Herff, is an external and independent contact person. He is available as a confidential contact person for players, coaches, team staff, club officials and referees. His most important role is the receipt of information on (planned or actual) match-fixing or other irregularities in football. In addition, he provides advice to everyone involved in football on how to manage possible hazardous situations or suspicious circumstances.

Monitoring

A further key component of the preventative measures being taken by the DFB and DFL is ensuring comprehensive monitoring of betting markets. The associations have worked together with Sportradar since 2005, who has been supporting the DFB and DFL to discover and analyse possible betting-related match-fixing. Sportradar captures sport betting offers and odds from over 550 bookmakers world-wide and analyses conspicuous betting patterns and changes to the odds. Comparable co-operation exists with numerous national and international sports associations, including FIFA, UEFA as well as other leagues.

For the sphere of operation of the DFB, Sportradar monitors all national team matches, the DFB-Pokal, 3. Liga, Regionalliga, Womens’ Bundesliga and A-Junioren Bundesliga. For the DFL, Sportradar monitors all matches of the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga (including relegation matches), as well as all friendly matches conducted by the clubs of the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga.

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RULES & REGULATIONS

The legal basis from which the code of conduct and punishments is derived is entrenched in the DFB Statutes and Regulations as well as the in National Law.

  • DFB Statutes and Regulations

  • National Law

  • Contractual Requirements

DFB Statutes and Regulations

The regulations derived from DFB Statutes and Regulations are entrenched in the DFB Legal and Procedural Regulations. Aspects regulated in these are the prohibition of match-fixing (§ 6a of the DFB Legal and Procedural Regulations), prohibition of betting (§ 1 No 2 and 3 of DFB Legal and Procedural Regulations), prohibition of disclosure of inside information (§ 1 No 2 and 3 of the DFB Legal and Procedural Regulations) and also reporting obligations (§ 1 No 2 of the DFB Legal and Procedural Regulations).

Breaches of these rules constitute unsportsmanlike conduct and will be sanctioned in accordance with § 44 of the DFB Statutes. Possible sanctions are suspension and fines.

In addition, the unsportsmanlike behaviour of just one person can have consequences for the whole team. If it becomes known that a match was manipulated, the opponent can lodge an objection against the result of the match. This could lead to a replay of the match or the result of the match could be re-evaluated in favour of the opposing team (§§ 17, 17a of the DFB Legal and Procedural Regulations).

Irrespective of the sanctions applied to individual players or to the team, match-fixing can have far-reaching consequences for the club because the club will be remembered for a long time as having been involved in match-fixing. This damages the reputation of the club for a long period and discourages sponsors, thereby damaging the club’s finances. Spectators and fans will turn away from the club if they know that matches were manipulated and discover that the pre-condition of unpredictability needed for fair competition is no longer fulfilled.

Prohibition of Match-fixing

§ 6a of the DFB Legal and Procedural Regulations stipulates the following: Whosoever in particular as player, referee, coach or club official takes action to influence the course and/or the result of a football match and/or sporting competition by knowingly making false decisions or by some other unauthorised influence with the intention of gaining an advantage either for himself/herself or for a third party is guilty of match-fixing.

This does not apply to players who attempt to gain an exclusively match-related sporting advantage during a match by the infringement of a football rule; however, such players will still still be subject to punishment for unsportsmanlike conduct in accordance with § 1 no 4 of the DFB Legal and Procedural Regulations (sporting offence), which remains unaffected.

The result of a match, or the game itself must therefore never intentionally be influenced in any way contrary to good sportsmanship for the purpose of gaining an advantage for a person or for any third party.

Prohibition of Betting

According to § 1 No 2 and 3 of the DFB Legal and Procedural Regulations, players, coaches, club officials and referees are forbidden from placing bets on matches of their own teams and on matches in competitions in which their own teams are taking part. This also applies to bets on matches or competitions in which other teams of their clubs are participating (e.g. youth teams and second teams). Furthermore, they are not permitted to ask third parties (e.g. family, friends or acquaintances) to place such bets on their behalf.

Prohibition of Disclosure of Inside Information

In accordance with § 1 no 2 of the DFB Legal and Procedural Regulations players, coaches, club officials and referees are obliged not to disclose any sports betting-related information which is not accessible to the general public, or their specialist knowledge to any third parties.

The term ‘inside information’ means any information to which a person has access as a result of his function as player, coach, referee, club official etc. and which is not generally known. Examples of such inside information would be the information that a regular player in the team will not be chosen to play or any information at all about the team, strategies, the state of club finances or who the referee will be. Such inside information must not be made accessible to third parties. Absolute confidentiality must therefore be maintained in particular on social networks but also in conversations with family and friends.

Reporting Obligation

Players, coaches, club officials and referees are required immediately to report any money or other benefit offered by third parties or by another club to fix matches (§ 1 no 2 and 3 of the DFB Legal and Procedural Regulations). This applies irrespective of whether the player, coach, club official or referee received or did not receive money or a benefit, i.e. irrespective of whether he agreed or did not agree to manipulate the match.

Furthermore, just the knowledge of the existence of an infringement of the requirement to prohibit match-fixing and prohibit unlawful betting, or knowledge of the disclosure of inside information requires that a report be made – even when the player, coach, club official or referee him/herself has nothing to do with the infringement.

The reporting requirement can be fulfilled by making immediate contact with the DFB or the ombudsman. There are several channels to report an infringement.

National Law

National law stipulates that the manipulation of matches constitutes a criminal offence, irrespective of whether betting was involved or not.

The criminal offence of sport betting fraud is defined in § 265c of the German Criminal Code. This defines that athletes, coaches or persons who are considered comparable to these are guilty of an offence if either for themselves or for third parties they request, are promised or accept a benefit to influence the course or result of a match, resulting in a financial advantage which arises from public sports betting on this competition. Whether or not a regulation is actually violated is not relevant. In this way players can, for example, make themselves indictable just by promising to give an advantage by performing significantly below their capabilities, e.g. assisting the opposing team to score a goal by providing weak defence.

In accordance with § 265d of the German Criminal Code the manipulation of matches in sport fulfils the requirement for a criminal offence even if there is no connection to any sport betting. By contrast to the legal prerequisites for sport betting fraud, § 265d requires that there be an anti-competitive influence on the course or the result of a match. As a result, attempted ‘competitive-intrinsic’ advantages, or in other words: attempted competitive advantages of a typically sporting nature do not fulfil the legal requirements of § 265d. Moreover, a prerequisite is that it concerns only professional sports competitions.

A professional sports competition within the meaning of this provision is any and every sports event within Germany or abroad,

  • which is organised by a national sports association or an international sports organisation or upon its instructions or with its recognition and
  • during which rules are to be followed which were adopted by a national or international sports organisation with a binding effect for its member organisations, and
  • in which predominantly athletes participate who directly or indirectly earn income of considerable scope through their sports activities.

Sport betting fraud or the manipulation of matches in professional sport competitions could lead to a fine or a term of imprisonment of up to three years, depending on the actual misconduct involved. Particularly serious cases could result in a term of imprisonment of up to five years (§ 265e of the German Criminal Code).

Contractual Requirements

Regulations of the DFB Legal and Procedural Regulations in the area of match-fixing are also part of the employment contracts for professional and contract players, as well as for the promotion contracts for youth players. This means that in addition to the consequences under association law and the Criminal Code, the player's labour relations may also be affected.

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THE OMBUDSMAN

Kindly supported by the German Football Museum

Since 2011, the DFB and DFL have had an external ombudsman to protect the integrity of sporting competition.

In his function as ombudsman, Dr. Carsten Thiel von Herff is available as an independent contact person for anyone who can provide information of either planned or agreed match-fixing. In addition he provides advice to everyone involved in football on how to manage possible hazardous situations or suspicious circumstances. Information can also be provided anonymously, so in this way confidentiality is assured. The ombudsman examines information of manipulation, passing anything suspicious on to the legal departments of the DFB and DFL and agrees on further action with those responsible.

Dr. Carsten Thiel von Herff is a full-time lawyer for compliance, antitrust and competition law. He is a former referee and coach in the areas of junior and amateur matches and is also ombudsman for other organisations. He has many years of experience in the prevention of corruption and the manipulation of matches. In 2018 he was recipient of the award as the best compliance lawyer in Germany.

The ombudsman is available 24 hours a day via email, phone or via the free hotline 00800-OMBUDSMAN. All you have to do is enter the letters OMBUDSMAN in the telephone keyboard and thereby automatically dial the ombudsman’s telephone number (00800-662837626) as each letter corresponds to a number in the keyboard. To remain anonymous, first enter #31# and then dial the ombudsman’s telephone number.

Dr. Carsten Thiel von Herff
Thiel von Herff | Rechtsanwälte
Detmolder Strasse 30
D-33604 Bielefeld
Phone: +49 521 557333-0
Hotline: 00800-OMBUDSMAN
Mobile: +49 151 58230321
Email: ombudsmann@thielvonherff.de

Alternatively, the ombudsman can be reached via email or the contact function in the DFL Integrity App which can be downloaded for free via the corresponding App Store. 

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E-LEARNING

To supplement the training workshops both an app and an e-learning tutorial have been developed.

The e-learning tutorial is reserved exclusively for the players of the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga licensed teams and youth teams and is only accessible via a log-in.

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HOW TO REPORT

Every attempt to bring a player, coach or club official to influence a match must immediately be reported to the DFB in accordance with § 1 no 2 of the DFB Legal and Procedural Regulations. The requirement to make a report is fulfilled by immediately contacting the ombudsman Dr. Carsten Thiel von Herff.

The ombudsman receives information of planned or completed manipulation or other irregularities in football matches and, after initial checking, passes them on to the legal departments of the DFB and DFL. In this way the confidential treatment of information is assured.

Any incident in connection with manipulation of matches can be reported to the ombudsman 24 hours a day via the free hotline 00800-OMBUDSMAN. This means that all you have to do is enter the letters OMBUDSMAN in the telephone keyboard and thereby automatically dial the ombudsman’s telephone number (00800-662837626) as each letter corresponds to a number in the keyboard. 

Alternatively, the ombudsman can be reached via normal mail, via email or via his mobile phone. To remain anonymous, first enter #31# and then dial the ombudsman’s telephone number.

Dr. Carsten Thiel von Herff
Thiel von Herff | Rechtsanwälte
Detmolder Strasse 30
D-33604 Bielefeld
Phone: +49 521 557333-0
Hotline: 00800-OMBUDSMAN
Mobile: +49 151 58230321
Email: ombudsmann@thielvonherff.de

An incident can easily and confidentially be reported by using the DFL Integrity App which can be downloaded for free via the corresponding App store.

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CONTACTS

If you have any questions about match-fixing or want to provide information on a match-fixing case, please contact the Ombudsman confidentially at any time.

Dr. Carsten Thiel von Herff
Thiel von Herff | Rechtsanwälte
Detmolder Straße 30
D-33604 Bielefeld
Phone: +49 521 557333-0
Hotline: 00800-OMBUDSMAN
Mobile: +49 151 58230321
Email: ombudsmann@thielvonherff.de

If you have any questions about gambling addiction, please contact the Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung (Federal Centre for Health Education).

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Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung (BZgA)
Ostmerheimer Strasse 220
D-51109 Cologne
Phone: +49 221 8992-0
Fax: +49 221 8992-300
www.bzga.de

On www.check-dein-spiel.de you can find information about gambling, its risks, as well as references to the different help on offer.

Reading material, particularly on the risks of sports betting (brochures and flyers in German, English, Turkish, Arabic, Polish and Russian) as well as brochures and flyers about the education on the topic of gambling addiction for the target groups of affected adults, youths and their relatives can be ordered and downloaded here.

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Imprint

DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga e.V.
Guiollettstraße 44-46
60325 Frankfurt/Main
Germany

Tel: +49 (0)69-65005-0
Fax: +49 (0)69-65005-555
Email address: info@dfl.de

President: Dr. Reinhard Rauball (President), Peter Peters und Helmut Hack (Vice-President)

VR 12031 Frankfurt/Main, Germany
VAT ID: DE 215 955 013

Deutscher Fußball-Bund e. V.
Otto-Fleck-Schneise 6
60528 Frankfurt/Main
Germany

Tel: +49 (0)69-6788-0
Fax: +49 (0)69-6788-266
Email address: info@dfb.de

President: Reinhard Grindel
General Secretary: Dr. Friedrich Curtius

VR 7007 Frankfurt/Main, Germany
VAT ID: DE 114 233 638

 

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All trademarks and marks of DFL e.V. and DFB mentioned or displayed in the services are protected by law. This applies especially for trademarks, logos and emblems. All other trademarks and marks of third parties mentioned or displayed in the services are fully subject to the provisions of the respective trademark and marking right of the respective holder. Simply naming or showing in particular does not mean that such brands and trademarks are not protected by rights of third parties.

4. References and links

The Website contains links to websites of third parties ("external links"). These websites are subject to the liability of the respective operator. DFL e.V. and DFB examined the content of the third party when first establishing the external links with regard to whether there were any violations of law. There were no apparent violations of law at that time. DFL e.V. and DFB have absolutely no influence on the current and future design and content of the linked pages. The setting of external links does not mean that DFL e.V. and DFB have assumed responsibility for the content behind the link. Continuous monitoring of the external links is not reasonably possible for DFL e.V. and DFB without having specific information about violations of law. Upon learning about violations of law, however, such external links will be deleted without undue delay.

5. Services of third parties

If goods or services are offered by third parties on the Website, the User must accept the contractual terms and conditions when ordering because the terms and conditions of contract of the third party apply exclusively for the contractual relationship between the User and the third party. It is especially possible to order goods and services from partners of DFL e.V. and DFB through the Website or to participate in their contests and other actions. DFL e.V. and DFB are only active as an intermediary in these situations. The action as an intermediary will take place, e.g. using a link which is activated on the Website in the context of the offerings by the partners and which leads to the specific offer on the own website of the partners. Questions and complaints must accordingly be directed directly to the respective partner whose terms and conditions of contract apply for the respective order or participation.

6. Data protection

The provisions on data protection (Privacy Statement) can be reviewed via the following link.