FIFA investigates match-fixing claims

by AFP on May 06, 2011

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Football's ruling body FIFA is investigating claims that more than 300 matches on three continents have been influenced by match-fixers.

FIFA suspects match officials have been paid as little as $US10,000 ($A9,450) to help engineer specific results in international friendly matches and European club games, netting fixers hundreds of millions of dollars on Asian betting markets.

"The threat from match-fixing to the integrity of the global game is significant," Chris Eaton, FIFA's head of security, confirmed in a report on Friday in British newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

"Interviews with those involved have told us that fixers can spend upwards of $US300,000 ($A283,400) to stage a friendly international and they do that with the expectation of a significant profit margin," the former Interpol official added.

Eaton told the Telegraph he believed fixers had made "tens of millions of dollars" in profit.

Employees from at least six different national football associations are under suspicion of helping the criminal network, which is thought to work out of Singapore and Malaysia.

FIFA fears the upcoming under-17 and under-20 world championships are at risk.

"We have admissions from those we are focusing on that they have been planning to target younger players at the under-17 and under-20 level," Eaton said.

"That is enough to make me concerned that we need to put preventative measures in place," he added.

Matches under suspicion include club games in Germany and Finland, Europa League fixtures and friendly internationals involving Kuwait, Jordan, Bolivia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Malaysia and Zimbabwe.