The Swedish Professional Football Leagues strive to educate and inspire players, coaches, and all other actors within Swedish football. As an organisation, we want to highlight and promote the social impact and the societal benefits that Swedish football contributes to. Together, we can create better conditions for the local community and the society at large.
In spring 2020, the Swedish Professional Football Leagues and its main partner Unibet presented a joint sustainability programme for Allsvenskan and Superettan. The purpose is to educate, support and help clubs and players in order to further develop the leagues’ role as a positive force in society. – We must safeguard our players and coaches and their integrity. We cannot simply view them as high-performing machines, says Anders Wikström, responsible for Club Development and League Integrity at the Swedish Professional Football Leagues.
As a member organisation, acting on behalf of the clubs competing in Allsvenskan and Superettan, the Swedish Professional Football Leagues have an important task to develop football at the highest level domestically in Sweden together with clubs, associations, and partners. But an equally important task is to safeguard the integrity of the players and coaches, and to fully take responsibility by contributing to the society as a whole. The agreement between the Swedish Professional Football Leagues and the new main partner Unibet includes increased resources and further investments that will strengthen the leagues’ integrity and prevent match-fixing. These important initiatives are now being presented as a joint sustainability programme. Through the sponsorship, more than SEK 4 million will be distributed annually to work carried out within the framework of social responsibility, of which around 70 percent is earmarked for league integrity.
“Our ambition as the main sponsor of Allsvenskan and Superettan is to promote the entire football experience, from leagues, clubs and players to supporters and society at large. In order to succeed with this objective, we focus on long-term work where we strive to take responsibility together, we contribute to achieve greater compliance, to build credibility and to prevent match-fixing and excessive gambling”, says Anders Falk, at Unibet Sweden.
The following key elements are all important parts of the joint sustainability programme by the Swedish Professional Football Leagues and Unibet:
- Each individual club will introduce a so-called Integrity Officer to monitor its operations
- Compulsory training schemes in responsible gaming and efforts to prevent match-fixing will be put in place for all players and coaches in Allsvenskan and Superettan
- Tools to locate and boost preventive measures will be made available to decrease problems related to gambling and mental health issues
This year, the Swedish Professional Football Leagues and Unibet will present each of these important areas more specifically, as they are being introduced and launched. The first key element that is currently being put in place is to appoint and train a dedicated Integrity Officer in each club. The task is to act as a key contact person, to be responsible for information and being able to provide advice and support in integrity issues related to the areas of match-fixing and responsible gaming. The contact person, who in most cases is the sports director of the club, becomes the link between the club, the player and the league in these important matters. In the spring 2021, each Integrity Officer was trained in this new role. Through this sponsorship, funding has been made available to appoint a new position at the Swedish Professional Football Leagues that will carry out dedicated work to prevent match-fixing and safeguard fair and responsible gaming.
“The Integrity Officer is a new position within each club that has not existed before, and it is a step in the right direction. We will now have 32 dedicated Integrity Officers working in the clubs. This gives us an even better opportunity to remain one step ahead through prevention, education, and provide greater availability to those in need of support”, says Anders Wikström.
Recently, the new training scheme to prevent match-fixing and to safeguard fair and responsible gaming, which was offered to all players and coaches in the 32 clubs in Allsvenskan and Superettan, was also completed. This training scheme is based on the rules for match-fixing set by the Swedish Sports Confederation, as well as the new gambling fraud offensethat was added with the new Gambling Act, which is included in the Swedish Gambling Authority’s forthcoming regulations banning match-fixing.
The website Football and Society lists all 32 clubs’ community involvement.