The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) has called for tougher sanctions for match-fixing after revelations that hundreds of matches may have been affected by a global betting scam run out of Singapore.
FIFA said that sports bodies and prosecutors need to work more closely together to tackle corruption, stressing that harsher repercussions are necessary for the criminals involved.
Nearly 700 matches, including World Cup and European championship qualifiers, have been identified as “suspicious” by European anti-crime agency Europol.
In Germany alone, 14 people have already been convicted. That is just the tip of the iceberg of a criminal network involving hundreds of people across the globe.
Europol Director Rob Wainwright said:
“We have always suspected that organised crime has been attempting to manipulate the football for many years.”
“This is the first real evidence we have about how extensive that is and I am concerned about what that means for the threat to football in Europe,” Wainwright added.
Around 380 of the games in question were in Europe, a further 300 in Africa, Asia and Latin America. All took place between 2008 and 2011.
Corruption linked to Asian betting syndicates has long been seen as a threat to soccer, but the announcements by Europol on February 4 underlined the huge scale of the problem.
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