IBIA initiates integrity programme with PFA Canada

The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), in collaboration with the Professional Footballers’ Association Canada (PFA Canada), has launched an educational programme.

IBIA, along with its members bet365, Betway, and FanDuel, will offer in-depth training to approximately 300 PFA Canada players and staff. This training will cover the importance of integrity in the Canadian Premier League (CPL), the dangers of match-fixing, and its potential impact on their careers.

Khalid Ali, CEO of IBIA, stated, “IBIA’s members, as responsible regulated betting operators, seriously undertake their role in protecting the integrity of sporting competition and betting markets. Protecting soccer players, staff, and officials from criminal targeting stands as an essential first step to eradicate sports betting related match-fixing and fraud, alongside balanced, efficient, and evidenced-based regulation.”

The two-year programme started this May and will extend to 2026. It includes repeat training next year for new players and staff joining the league, teaching them how to report suspicious activity and thwart criminals.

Jean-Francois Reymond, IBIA’s Education Ambassador, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration with PFA Canada to further safeguard the Canadian Premier League from sports-betting related match-fixing threats. “Protecting the integrity of sport means safeguarding the athletes themselves. Often, athletes risk their careers and livelihoods due to a lack of awareness. IBIA aims to build a best-in-class program that protects the integrity of Canadian sport and the careers of Canada’s athletes,” he commented.

The educational material consists of in-person lessons and online resources accessible to people across the CPL’s eight league teams, covering rules, sanctions, and insights into the technology used for monitoring sports integrity breaches.

Dan Kruk, Executive Director of PFA Canada, remarked, “Since 2010, IBIA has provided sports integrity education to over 35 thousand athletes in Europe, and we appreciate their expertise in designing bespoke training for CPL players. At PFA Canada, we recognize that in-person sports integrity education, despite being resource-intensive, is crucial for gaining athletes’ trust and understanding and for fostering open, frank discussions.”

IBIA’s member operators bet365, Betway, and FanDuel made the campaign possible by establishing a special three-year commitment to the Canadian market with a CA$300,000 (£175k) fund.

Dale Hooper, General Manager of FanDuel Canada, commented on the critical role of athlete education in maintaining sports integrity, expressing excitement about expanding engagement with IBIA through this new partnership aimed at developing a curriculum that educates athletes about their role in protecting sports.

Joachim Bjerg, Head of International Markets at Betway’s Win Technologies division, shared his pride in partnering with and supporting IBIA and the Professional Footballers’ Association Canada. “We will design, create, and implement a bespoke course that will enhance Betway’s global commitment to educating players and staff involved in sport. As a responsible regulated betting operator, we see our role as imperative in safeguarding sports integrity, and we eagerly anticipate working with IBIA on this exciting and important initiative,” he added.