COSAFA aims to leave a legacy wherever it hosts its tournaments, and next month players and officials will receive tools and guidance on how to avoid falling victim to the many ills that damage the game today.
Genius Sports is a trusted integrity partner to over 100 sports leagues and federations worldwide, including the English Premier League and the German Football Association.
They will conduct four sessions during the Men’s Under-20 Championship, starting with a workshop for match officials on December 3, the day before the competition gets under way.
The players from all 12 competing teams will then be taken through the workshop in sperate sessions on December 5 and 6.
“Education is a vital pillar to sports gaining long-term protection from the threat of match-fixing. Workshops to key groups such as referees and players can be very effective for demonstrating the importance of integrity, the rules in place and the possible consequences if they compromise the integrity of their sport,” Ben Paterson, Integrity Operations Director of Genius Sports, said.
“We’re delighted to be working alongside COSAFA on this crucial initiative at the Men’s Under-20 Championship, empowering the next generation of players to take a stand against betting-related corruption and protect the future of the sport.”
Genius Sports is a global leader in monitoring betting patterns, providing education, integrity audits and investigations to repel the threats of match-fixing and betting-related corruption.
Through workshops and e-learning modules, Genius Sports has delivered comprehensive education programmes for some of the largest organisations in sport.
The company’s Bet Monitoring System leads the fight against match-fixing with predictive algorithms that flag potentially suspicious betting activity, while they provide guidance on having the right legal framework in place to react to these threats.
Genius Sports also offer services around crisis communications, liaising with law enforcement and managing disciplinary proceedings.
“We are delighted to have our partners Genius Sports conduct their Integrity Workshops in Lusaka,” COSAFA General Secretary Sue Destombes said. “We know from bitter experience that our region, like so many around the world, is not immune to the match-fixing scourge and we as COSAFA are doing all in our power to put in place the tools to combat this.
“We believe the match officials and players will benefit greatly from these workshops and urge all our associations to do everything they can to feed these messages through to their domestic game.”
COSAFA will also be hosting four other workshops and events during the Under-20 Championships.
There will be an Elite Referees Course run by top FIFA Instructor Felix Tangawarima together with Jackson Pavaza and Katongo Kabungo, which will take place from November 28-December 3.
There will also be a D-License Coaching Course hosted by CAF Instructor Zunaid Mall from November 29-December 2, and an Administration & Management Course led by former FIFA Development Officer Ashford Mamelodi from December 6-10.
Finally, there is scheduled to be a Youth Festival for young, aspiring footballers co-hosted by COSAFA and Spain’s LaLiga on either December 11 or 13, with that exact date to be finalised in due course.