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Match-Fixing A Global Problem Warn Experts

Wed 10th Sep 2014 | Football Governance

The staggering extent of the scourge of global match-fixing was revealed on the final morning of Soccerex.

Between 60 and 80 countries have reported allegations of match-fixing for each of the last three years, the head of the Interpol-FIFA initiative set up to fight the crime said.

“It is a global problem and it is showing no signs of abating,” said John Abbott to an audience at the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester.

"We have evidence of organised crime groups in China, Russia, the Balkans, the United States and Italy making substantial money."

Abbott claimed billions of dollars were involved, adding: "Sports governing bodies and football associations need to get real about prevention.

"Many sports, of course, are affected by match-fixing, but football, the global game, is top of the league and cricket is second.

"The extent of the problem is that each year for the last three years between 60 and 80 countries have reported allegations of match-fixing.   We need better legislation throughout the world, but I don't think we will ever have one global law covering match-fixing but all the authorities need to work closer with each other to stop it happening."

During the same debate, entitled "Fixing Football's Dark Side", Emanuel Medeiros, European and Latin American  head of the Qatar-based International Centre for Sport Security, told delegates at least one professional European soccer club is being run by an organised crime syndicate through a front company.

"I have evidence that this is the case but I cannot say which club or which country although these are legitimate questions," he told reporters afterwards.

"This is not new, we have been aware of these kinds of developments since 2003 but there is an ongoing police investigation. It’s a very serious matter."

Medeiros, the former chief executive of the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL), told reporters after the debate that all sport needed "a wake up call".

"It is no longer a silent cancer. It is widespread and very evident that this is a deadly cancer for sport.”

"It’s not acceptable that sporting fraud is considered a crime in only five European countries.  We need concrete, robust regulation of the sports betting market which at the moment does not exist.

"We need better regulation, good governance, enhanced prevention and education and a serious international approach. Only if we do these (things) can we put an end to football being dragged into shame."

Darren Small, who runs Sportradar , the company that monitors irregular betting patterns worldwide,  said there were cases of players and officials who have moved from one country to another for the express purpose of getting involved in rigging games.

“When you lift the stone, you see a lot of what’s going on,” he warned.

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