The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Integrity Unit was invited for the first time to attend and participate in the 12th meeting of INTERPOL’s Match-Fixing Task Force (IMFTF) which was held over three-days last week in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The meeting brought together integrity and intelligence specialists from some 50 countries, representing law enforcement, public authorities, sports federations, anti-doping organizations and betting monitoring services.
The Integrity Unit was represented by Kevin Carpenter, Head of Integrity, who first delivered a twenty-minute presentation to delegates about the Integrity Unit and the work the Unit is doing to combat competition manipulation.
He then participated in a ‘Sports Talks’ session alongside the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Movement Unit on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions and the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) discussing various operational issues with law enforcement officers from differing areas of the world.
Discussions focused on mechanisms to boost intelligence sharing and close legislative and institutional gaps, such as the establishment of National Platforms, which centralize and analyse information on irregular and suspicious trends.
Delegates also highlighted the emerging uses of technology, big data and social media, as well as stressing the continuing need for targeted and effective education of all participants in sport.
Carpenter had this to say following the meeting, “It was a privilege for the Integrity Unit to be invited by INTERPOL and the UAE Ministry of Interior to such a vital forum to hear from and meet with law enforcement agencies active in tackling match-fixing, integrity units in other international sports, as well as further key stakeholders.
“Match-fixing is not acceptable in any sport, and any such activities in table tennis are a violation of the ITTF Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions. It is important for the Unit to be fully up-to-date with investigative and intelligence strategies to tackle the problem effectively.
“Building relationships and sharing information and experiences is a key pillar for the growth of the Integrity Unit and in it being proactive to the challenges the sport faces from competition manipulation and betting integrity issues.”
The ITTF Integrity Unit is an operationally independent unit established in 2021 with responsibilities including investigating and prosecuting integrity-related violations of the ITTF Handbook, educating table tennis parties on integrity matters, and otherwise protecting and upholding the integrity of table tennis.