Europe was the main source of integrity alerts geographically with 188. Russia had the highest number of integrity alerts at 27%.
Despite the establishment of the sports betting sector in the region, North American alerts fell to 10 - a 54% decline on the 22 reported in 2020. Meanwhile, alerts from the US dropped by 76% from 17 to 4.
Eight South American alerts were on soccer. Brazil had seven and Colombia had one. Seven were from tennis; Brazil, Chile and Bolivia each had two and Argentina had one. There was also one alert for futsal and beach volleyball, with both originating in Brazil.
In 2020, the number of alerts for African soccer betting increased from one to nine.
Khalid Ali, the CEO at IBIA, stated that another difficult year had passed with COVID-19's impact on sporting events decreasing. The alerts in 2021 show a decrease in alerts and a return to pre-pandemic numbers.
He added, "Challenges, however, persist, notably with the growth of private sports events and establishing integrity protocols to the levels seen in traditional sports bodies. The association is working with a number of stakeholders in this area to improve integrity provisions."
This is a recurring trend that has seen soccer and tennis dominate as the most popular sports for betting alerts. In 2020, there were 98 alerts. Tennis saw an 18% drop in alerts. This indicates a downward trend in possible match-fixing in the sport.
In 2018 and 2019, there were 178 and 101 alerts for tennis, respectively. This indicates a decrease in long-term integrity issues in tennis. Alerts at the International Tennis Federation (ITF) level decreased by 26% from 50 in 2020 to 37 in 2021.
The number of soccer cases increased by 8% to 646, compared with the previous year's figure of 61. This is the highest IBIA record.
Ali explained that the dangers associated with betting corruption still exist. As the Optimum Betting Market Report published last year highlighted, that equates to roughly $25 million per annum in lost revenue for the regulated betting sector globally.
However, "It is therefore welcome that the requirement for operators to be part of an integrity monitoring system have gathered pace across the US, and have been endorsed in Sweden, to add to existing requirements in the Netherlands, Germany and the Czech Republic," he added.
Last year, 11 individuals or teams identified by the IBIA as being involved in suspicious matches were subject to criminal and sporting penalties. IBIA members and their organizations contributed to the issuance of "significant sanctions," including lifetime bans.