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The Match was manipulated but no player or official is guilty of Match Manipulation: Expert Reports and Investigations

Author – Brendan Considine

“CAS upheld the Association’s original findings of manipulation around the Longford Town v Athlone Town fixture. “The FAI remains committed to the fight against match fixing,”.

So, the match was manipulated but no player or official is guilty of match manipulation.

Of course, it is a fair outcome and the only decision open to the esteemed members of the panel of Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) considering the evidence they were presented with.

Leaving aside this specific case, it can only be considered a spectacular own-goal if a respondent’s ‘expert report’ is used to support the appellant’s appeal. Effective, thorough, fair investigations are an important element in any prevention strategy. A weak or flawed investigation sets prevention back and allows for apologists and deniers of corruption in sport.

Many experts commissioned to provide match reports are well intentioned. However, often they do not have the relevant training and experience required to conduct an evaluation of the match based on established criteria. Too often, they do not produce an evidence-based report that is based on sound investigative principles and is legally defensible. What results is a report based on subjective opinions which fails to support factual findings.

Conducting an investigation is a professional skill. Match analysis, using established criteria, is a specialist task. A combination of these skills and specialisms is what is required for effective robust Sport Manipulation investigations.

The alternative is to risk the wellbeing and reputation of individuals and organisations; weak prevention strategies; costly investigations and appeal processes.