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Date: 23 November 2017

  World - Soccer


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Fifa/INTERPOL anti-football corruption joint strategic response

[Posted 10 May 2011]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Fifa/INTERPOL anti-football corruption joint strategic response

The World  Football governing body, FIFA, has announced mega-plans to clean up the beatiful game of the dross called corruption through betting and fixing matches, by joining forces with INTERPOL, and a planned investment of £17.5m for this purpose.

Fifa will donate the said amount to enable INTERPOL to create an unprecedented ten-year programme worth millions of pounds a year at a dedicated FIFA Anti-Corruption Training Wing within the INTERPOL Global Complex (IGC) in Singapore. 

President of Fifa, Sepp Blatter who is seeking re-election, has described the initiative as a global response to corruption in football.

INTERPOL, in terms of this handsomely funded initiative, will target illegal and irregular betting and match-fixing activities involving Asian gambling syndicates who are involved in global match-fixing, and have been reported to operate mainly from Singapore and Malaysia.

According to the recent research by INTERPOL, football gambling racks in hundreds of millions of US dollars each year in Asia alone for those who stand to benefit from the corruption.

In announcing the football corruption response joint strategy, Blatter explained that the purpose of the intiative is to protect soccer players and officials involved in officiating, and to preserve the integirty of the sport which has been dubbed "the beautiful game".

“The threat of match-fixing in sport is a major one, and we are committed to doing everything in our power to tackle this threat.

“In the fight against illegal betting and match-fixing, the preventive measures that can be taken and the protection of the players and the integrity of the game are of the utmost importance. 

"Joint work with the authorities and with INTERPOL is crucial for success, and for this reason we are very pleased to announce this contribution today, which will further enhance our cooperation,” Blatter announced on Monday.

Blatter further remarked that Fifa is inspired to undertake the game cleansing and protection efforts for the reason that “match-fixing shakes the very foundations of sport, namely fair play, respect and discipline".

INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald Noble hailed the new partnership with Fifa in combating crime in football world-wide.

“By funding a long-term corruption prevention training programme to be designed and implemented by INTERPOL...FIFA has taken a significant step towards ensuring the integrity of football worldwide,” Noble said.

“Illicit betting and match-fixing rings have demonstrated their global reach to fundamentally undermine football from one continent to another by corrupting administrators, officials and players and they require a global response,” the INTERPOL boss added.

The programme has received endorsement even from the leadership of the World Bank.

“Corruption should always be offside. Cleaning-up initiatives are a much-needed golden goal against corruption, and an important step toward keeping football worthy of its nickname: the beautiful game,” World Bank’s Vice-President of Integrity, Leonard McCarthy, said.

The purpose of the programme is to provide continous learning opportunities for all officials involved in Fifa-led football activities at regional levels. This includes national and international football, from club football to international competitions at all age levels.

Football corruption has reached such allarming proportions that Fifa has detected that the Fifa Under 17 and Under 20 World Cups have been targeted by the betting and gambling syndicates.

Corruption through match-fixing has already reared its ugly head in various parts of the soccer world.

In 2006,  Italian clubs Juventus, Fiorentina, Lazio and AC Milan were all implicated in a match-fixing scandal, with the result that Juventus was relegated to the second tier of Italian football, while the other teams had points deducted from them for match-fixing offences.

Between 2007 and 2009, the Zimbabwe football national team was involved in some questionable friendly matches in which players were reportedly paid to throw matches, and internal investigations in Zimbabwe have already claimed the scalp of former CEO Henrieta Rushwaya and others.

Recently, the Togo football federation denied having sent a team to play in a friendly match in Asia, in which the players who masquaraded as national team players failed to last the entire match, a match which the fake Togo lost 3-0, and five goals were disallowed.

Fifa officials will arrive in Malaysia next week as part of the on-going investigations into 300 matches reported to have been fixed on three continents.

The two friendly matches played between Malaysia and Zimbabwe in 2009 form part of the international friendly matches to be investigated by Fifa.  

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