The FIFA security director warns that soccer has “a long way to do” to defeat match-fixing by organized crime gangs, according to an article from The Associated Press.
FIFA was involved in 20 match-fixing investigations worldwide last year, and Ralf Mutschke – FIFA security director – says the problem could get much worse: 100 national leagues are vulnerable to corruption when crime syndicates can so easily bet on matches online, the article says.
“FIFA is not going to eradicate match-fixing or corruption,” says Mutschke in a briefing Tuesday ahead of a two-day European conference on combating match-fixing that opens Thursday in Italy.
The German former Interpol officials accepts that “realistically, there is no way” FIFA can tackle organized crime, which targets betting on soccer as a profitable scam with low risks of being caught, prosecuted or sentenced heavily, AP reports.
Mutschke says FIFA needs more help from national law enforcement agencies, and asked Interpol to persuade its members to help protect the world’s most popular sport, the article says. He is also trying to raise integrity levels – the “key to success” of his strategy – by educating referees, players and officials to resist approaches by fixers, AP reports.
He is also undertaking a global series of meetings with security officials from FIFA’s 209 national members, including workshops in New York, Brazil and Ukraine in the coming weeks. Mutschke acknowledges difficulties in creating a “global alert network” of dedicated integrity officers employed by each member to help monitor 1,500 matches – including the World Cup, national team competitions and exhibitions – that FIFA has responsibility for each year, but he insists that he will try.
UEFA has led by example, deciding in March 2011 to create a similar network among its 53 members, which followed UEFA’s work with prosecutors in Bochum, Germany, to break up a syndicate that fixed matches across Europe, AP reports.