Foto: Lula Marques/ Agência Brasil

The report by the company Good Game, hired by Botafogo, does not serve as isolated proof of match-fixing. This was the conclusion of a Council of Europe body researching methodologies for identifying matches with fixed results.

The Continent’s Human Rights Body, the Council of Europe, created the Copenhagen Group to study measures to prevent match-fixing. There is cooperation from UEFA.

This group conducted research from 2017 to 2019 on three companies’ methods for identifying game analytics manipulation: Footvision, Good Game, and StatsPerform.

Botafogo owner John Textor hired Good Game to analyze Brazilian Championship games. Based on his report, the North American executive stated that the Alviverde team benefited from two Palmeiras games in the 2022 and 2023 Brazilian Championships.

He presented the document to the CPI for Gaming and Betting Manipulation in the Senate and to the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro. The STJD is also investigating Textor’s complaint, based on the document.

The Council of Europe

The Council of Europe published the study in September 2023, before Textor’s public accusations. So, they conducted the research on games from 2017 to 2019, going through later phases before concluding.

In a statement, the Council of Europe said regarding the analysis of the work of the three companies, Footvision, Good Game and StatsPerform: “Performance analysis in sport can help combat manipulation, helping to identify players of particular interest.

It is important to emphasize that current analyzes do not serve as proof in themselves, but can corroborate more serious and consistent investigations, such as suspicious bets.”

The body stated that there was consensus that more work will be needed to develop methodologies based on independent and empirical data to obtain “objective results”.

Good Game’s method of game manipulation analysis

In the study, the Good Game! consists of analyzing players and judges in videos from a physical, biomechanical and physiological point of view. Thus, the objective is to find deficiencies in these athletes or judges.

In other words, an algorithm identifies the number of deficiencies per player and the number of players involved. From there, the game is classified as normal, suspicious or manipulated.

Therefore, to fall into the latter category, there must be a greater number of players with one disability or fewer players with many disabilities.

According to Textor, five São Paulo players manipulated the defeat suffered by Palmeiras. He said the same about four Fortaleza athletes, also in the game against Alviverde. However, he did not name names or explain how he proved this statement.

Within the study, the Copenhagen group reinforces: “A performance analysis can help law enforcement officials and other professionals working on the integrity of sport to better detect and prove manipulation in competitions.

These results may support other analytical information or elements to reach the applicable standard of proof. In any case, it could represent an important starting point for an investigation.”

In other words, for the Council of Europe, for the Good Game report to be considered as proof of game manipulation, it is necessary to associate it with other elements. Otherwise, it would only serve as a principle of investigation, and not as evidence to make an accusation.