The International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) has agreed a partnership with the governing body of Italy’s third and fourth football divisions, the Lega Italiana Calcio Professionistico (Lega Pro) to work together on sporting integrity issues, with a focus on match-fixing.

The agreement will see the ICSS and Lega Pro pool information and share knowledge across all areas of sporting integrity, as well launching joint efforts to develop standards of best practice for the key issues. The ICSS will also advise Lega Pro on measures to develop and improve resources and capabilities to help uphold sporting integrity.

Lega Pro became one of the first football leagues in Europe, alongside Germany’s Bundesliga, to proactively seek out ways to develop an anti-fraud system to educate players and combat corruption in sport. Its original initiatives, launched ahead of the 2011-12 football season, saw a 65 per cent decrease in match outcomes deemed suspicious over the course of the fixture programme.

The chief of the body’s integrity office Francesco Ghirelli said Lega Pro held “the fight against betting fraud, the fight against doping and any other illegal practice in sports as its top priorities.”

“The continuous work done during meetings with all the clubs’ members, including players, coaches, managers, referees, inspectors of the League and members of the clubs’ youth sections, is starting to change the perception of the criminal phenomena and, as a consequence, the reaction to such phenomena,” Ghirelli added.

The partnership is the second of its kind involving the ICSS, after it agreed in October to help the Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional (LFP), which oversees the top two Spanish football leagues, in its fight against corruption.

ICSS president Mohammed Hanzab said the organisation was “committed to being a driving force in sport integrity,” and was “leading the fight to uphold sporting integrity.”

He lauded the partnership with Lega Pro as “another important step towards developing a unified effort to tackle the issues of match fixing and corruption in sport.”

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