FIFA joins forces with Interpol

by AFP on May 10, 2011

0 comments | | print

World football's governing body FIFA said Monday that it would fund an Interpol training program to help tackle match fixing and irregular betting thought to run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

"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," said FIFA president Sepp Blatter in a statement after a meeting with Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble.

FIFA also announced that it would add an investigation task force to its betting monitoring unit, bringing it close to practice at European football's governing body UEFA.

"Joint work with the authorities and with Interpol is crucial for success," Blatter said, vowing zero tolerance and underlining the need for preventive measures.

Senior sports officials have repeatedly warned that they cannot tackle illegal betting, which is often entwined with organised crime, and its consequences without the power of full court-backed investigations by law enforcement agencies.

Interpol has estimated that illegal football gambling is worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Asia alone each year.

FIFA will contribute E8 million ($A10.75m) to its Anti Corruption Training Wing at Interpol in Singapore over the first two years, followed by E12 million over the following eight years.

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge warned in March that sports as a whole was in danger from an estimated 140 billion dollars a year in illegal betting worldwide.

Rogge has repeatedly expressed the fear that illegal and irregular betting threatens the credibility of popular spectator sports through match or results -fixing.

During last year's World Cup, 155 million dollars in illegal bets were prevented in a joint police operation in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, according to Interpol.