Foto: Marcos Oliveira/Agência Senado

Felippe Marchetti, integrity manager at Sportradar AG, testified at the CPI on the Manipulation of Sports Betting and Games this Tuesday (18).

He detailed the company’s methods for detecting fraud and opined that many clubs and players in Brazil are vulnerable to proposals from businesspeople linked to match-fixing.

Furthermore, he highlighted the international activity of fraudsters and defended the need to educate players against manipulation.

In his request for a hearing (REQ 42/2024), senator Romário (PL-RJ), rapporteur of the commission, cited a March report from Sportradar.

This report highlighted Brazil as the “world champion of fraud” in the sector, with 109 suspicious matches out of a total of 9,000 analyzed.

Marchetti mentioned Sportradar’s experience partnering with sports leagues and law enforcement agencies around the world. He highlighted that match fixers discovered better opportunities in Latin America when Europe stepped up its fight against fraud.

Marchetti stated: “The vast majority of athletes in Brazil are in a condition of economic vulnerability. They [the manipulators] saw a very favorable scenario for manipulation here, and from 2015 onwards we saw an increase in cases. (…) Those who are most susceptible, most vulnerable, are athletes from small clubs”.

Artificial intelligence in the fight against fraud

Marchetti explained that the company uses artificial intelligence to monitor betting odds in real time, both legal and illegal.

The technology compares real betting movements with expected ones, generating reports that have already led to important investigations in Brazil. He highlighted, however, that qualitative analysis is essential to complement the presentation of statistics.

In response to Romário, Marchetti stated that bookmakers would be interested in combating fraud, as they also lose money through manipulation.

Panel: CPIMJAE rapporteur, senator Romário (PL-RJ) – Photo: Marcos Oliveira/Agência Senado

However, he noted the lack of means for betting companies based abroad to report irregularities to Brazilian authorities. He defended Brazil’s accession to the Macolin Convention, which deals with the international fight against the manipulation of sports results.

“This flow of information between all actors is fundamental to combating the [fraud] system, so that not only bookmakers, but also athletes, managers and everyone interested in protecting the sport know who to turn to, how to turn and how this information will be processed after the complaint”, explained Marchetti.

Marchetti stated that bookmakers are also victims of fraud: “I welcome a bookmaker sponsoring an integrity service for a sports federation, or sponsoring a workshop for the clubs it sponsors.”

Response to John Textor’s allegations

In response to Romário, Marchetti stated that Sportradar did not detect anomalies in the matches mentioned by John Textor, majority shareholder of Botafogo. “In fact, the movement of the betting market goes against the allegations”, he explained.

representative of the company SportRadar AG, Felippe Marchetti – Photo: Marcos Oliveira/Agência Senado

The president of the CPI, senator Jorge Kajuru (PSB-GO), cited the secret meeting of the collegiate with John Textor, in which the majority of senators saw evidence. Marchetti defended Sportradar’s analysis, stating:

“Within our technique, our evaluation parameters, which are (…) validated both scientifically and by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, we did not verify any evidence or any indication of manipulation of results in the aforementioned matches”.

Marchetti considered a confrontation between representatives of Sportradar and Good Game!, a company cited by Textor, unnecessary, stating that “the one who has to explain the methodology they work with is the company that is making the accusations”.

Betting CPI: Implications of organized crime

The senators expressed concern about the alleged debt of Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa, which purchased the company MCE, a game operator for the Rio de Janeiro State Lottery (Loterj), with the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC).

Marchetti declared that he was unaware of the specific case or any cases of organized crime involvement in match-fixing in Brazil, but did not rule out the hypothesis.

“This is what we see internationally, for example, in the Albanian mafia, which is involved in arms trafficking and human trafficking. These guys are involved in match fixing in the Balkan region.

So, thinking with the head of organized crime, it would make sense for organized crime to get involved with the issue of match-fixing,” said Marchetti.

Kajuru added that he is not afraid to face the PCC in the Senate Betting CPI, if necessary.