PtG Article 21.06.2010

FIFA steps up fight against match-fixers

FIFA is preparing to monitor the World Cup's most vulnerable matches for match-fixing threats.

FIFA legal director Marco Villiger said Friday that the final group-stage games are at the highest risk of being fixed, especially those that involve teams which have already qualified for the second round or have been knocked out.

"We use our means to keep our focus on these matches. Anything else would be naive," Villiger said.

No player, referee or team official has yet called a special hotline FIFA created for this tournament to report approaches by fixers, he said.

In recent months, FIFA has built closer ties with global police agency Interpol and is building a network of informers. Their biggest challenge is to penetrate the illegal betting markets run by southeast Asian organized crime gangs.

"We realized that only the monitoring is not enough," Villiger said. "In the investigation side, there is definitely room for improvement."