May 20, 2024
  • May 20, 2024
Canadian Premier League Betting

PFA Canada Launches Program To Educate CPL Athletes On Sports Betting Integrity

By on May 14, 2024 0 651 Views

Correction: While the original article stated that the PFA Canada program was the first of its kind in CPL circles, this year the Canadian Premier League ran a preseason program provided by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports that every rostered player was required to complete. A league spokesperson states that the CPL expects to continue such training as an annual preseason deliverable.

PFA Canada – the players’ union that collectively bargains for CPL athletes – will be providing a two-year sports integrity education program in partnership with the International Betting Integrity Association.

The program kicks off this month and will aim to help educate around 300 players and staff about the potential threat of sports betting-related issues and match-fixing, including the impact it can have on the league’s integrity and their own careers, too.

“At PFA Canada we understand that, despite being more resource-intensive, in-person sports integrity education is essential to gain the trust and understanding of busy athletes, and to enable full, frank, and open conversations,” says PFA Canada executive director Dan Kruk.

Valour FC Jordan Swibel
A Tonybet ad board provides the backdrop for York United vs Valour. (Photo Credit: John Jacques)

The program has received $300,000 in funding by the IBIA and its member operators bet365, Betway, and FanDuel for the Canadian market – though it’s Tonybet who is the Canadian Premier League’s official sports betting partner.

The program that runs this year will be repeated again in 2025.

York United had picked up a club-specific ‘online gaming’ partner for the club’s inaugural year, with Sports Interaction becoming one of the first to establish an official betting partnership within the burgeoning league. The CPL would run with ComeOn! as its official sports betting partner for two seasons, with Tonybet replacing it in 2023.

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The program will feature in-person training along with online resources available to players coast-to-coast, clarifying rules and sanctions to athletes while emphasizing the capabilities of technology-enabled sports integrity monitoring, too.

The football world at large is no stranger to betting scandals: Newcastle midfielder Sandro Tonali is serving a ten month ban for breaking the Italian FA rules on sports betting, while Ivan Toney returned for Brentford this year after serving an eight-month ban. Both clubs have, ironically, spotlighted betting sponsors prevalently.

“Alongside balanced, efficient, and evidenced-based regulation, protecting soccer players, staff, and officials from being targeted by criminals is an essential first step to stamping out sports-betting related match-fixing and fraud,” adds IBIA CEO Khalid Ali.

It’s been over ten years since the separate semi-pro Canadian Soccer League found itself the subject of a massive sports-fixing scandal reaching as far as Germany, with offers to fix matches described as being ‘routine’ at the time. The Canadian Soccer League still exists, but is unrelated to the professional domestic top flight Canadian Premier League.

The IBIA is currently in discussion with other sports governing bodies in Canada, having recently trained athletes at the EUBC’s European Boxing Championship in Serbia.

Header Image Photo Credit: John Jacques

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