PtG Article 20.02.2013

FIFA calls on governments to take action against match-fixing

At Interpol and AFC’s seminar on match-fixing taking place in Malaysia today, FIFA declined to sanction the Singaporean FA for failing to extradite the alleged Singaporean match-fixing kingpin, stating that it is above their juristiction.

“Match‐fixing is a pandemic now in world football. It concerns each and everyone of us, right from the FIFA Executive Committee to the common club fan,” acting president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Zhang Jilong said in his opening speech.

FIFA director of security Ralf Mutschke agreed that match-fixing is a global problem that cannot be solved without the cooperation of international governments.

"We have to bring in the governments because they have to change legislations and laws, because a lot of countries do not have proper laws fighting match manipulation and corruption," he said according to AP. "Talking is nice, but we have to come to a conclusion that it's time now for action."

Match-fixing expert Declan Hill do not have high hopes for the outcome of the conference and criticizes AFC and Interpol’s ability to set action behind words.

“Given both of these organizations’ failure to act credibly against sports corruption it will be, unless there is a dramatic change in their operations, a sham, a farce and perilously close to a cover-up,” he writes in his blog.

Earlier this month Europol revealed the findings of a major investigation into international match-fixing. The investigations began 18 months ago and looked into 700 matches in 30 countries. The investigation revealed attempts to fix around 380 professional matches across Europe. A large number of the fixed matches points to an organized crime syndicate allegedly headed by a Singaporean businessman known as Dan Tan, on who the Italian police has issued an arrest order.  The Singaporean police is currently awaiting the city state’s authorities to review information before bringing Dan Tan into custody, writes AP.

According to Mutschke, Dan Tan "needs to be brought to justice ... but it's out of our jurisdiction," writes AP. "Why should FIFA punish the entire Singapore if it's a political problem? The problem has to be solved on a political level.”

Speeches from the seminar


AP/SFGate, Declan Hill