Swedish FA blasts regulator in football betting suspension row

5 August 2019

The Swedish Football Association (SvFF) has hit out at the country’s gambling regulatory body Spelinspektionen for not prohibiting licenced operators from offering betting on a domestic club football competition, despite its warning of suspected match-fixing.

Last month, the SvFF revealed that it had received reports of match-fixing in 13 games in Division 2 Södra Svealand and advised Spelinspektionen to implement a prohibitive ban on operators allowing betting on the competition.

However, Spelinspektionen declined this request, saying that the Swedish Gaming Act does not support prohibitions or other such measures to combat the manipulation of sporting results. The regulator also said it is working to develop regulations that will address the SvFF’s concerns.

The SvFF has now hit back, with its general secretary, Håkan Sjöstrand, saying the organisation does not agree with the regulator’s “narrow interpretation” of the Gaming Act.

“It must be possible for the responsible authority to make quick decisions in more urgent situations of this kind, otherwise, this must be clarified in the legislation,” Sjöstrand said.

The SvFF also wrote to a number of gambling operators in Sweden, requesting that they halt any betting on the division. Svenska Spel has already confirmed it is no longer allowing betting, while Bethard, 888 and Unibet have also indicated they will follow suit.

“We hope that all serious companies will follow, despite the Spelinspektionen’s negative position,” Sjöstrand said. “We cannot wait for the authority to finalise its regulations or to change the law.”

As a result, the SvFF has committed to adopting enhanced measures to safeguard Division 2 Södra Svealand from manipulation for the rest of the season. This will include increased monitoring of matches and intensified monitoring of the gaming market to detect any deviations.

“We are forced to devote considerable resources to monitoring and other measures,” said Sjöstrand, who also urged authorities to join the organisation in the "fight" against corruption in sport.