PtG Article 16.09.2011

Platini: Football is in mortal danger

According to UEFA President Michel Platini match-fixing has become such a threat to football that the whole integrity of the global sport is at stake.

"Football, like most sporting disciplines, is in mortal danger," Platini warned yesterday, speaking at the first-ever UEFA Integrity Officers' workshop.

“The very essence of our sport is based on the integrity of results, from school sport up to the World Cup. Obviously, the credibility of every competition is affected. If the dice are loaded, what is the point of taking part or getting enthusiastic?” Platini asked the seminar warning that sport by itself can do nothing against organised crime.

Earlier this year UEFA decided to set up of a network of Integrity Officers at the European level who among other duties will be acting as liaison officers for cooperation between the football authorities and state law enforcement agencies in relation to suspected match-fixing.

"In each country and national association, you are there to reinforce the links between football and its disciplinary authorities and the national and continental police and judicial instances. You bring your knowledge of football and its actors and players to the professionals. You play a crucial role in defending our sport, in the fight against organised crime and to help bring about a cleansing of our competitions at all levels," Platini said.

The Integrity Officer workshop took place at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, ending Thursday 15 September, less than a month after Turkish champions Fenerbache SK had been excluded from the Champions League on charges of match-fixing. This and similar incidents have found their way to the public and shaped the impression of football being under an increasing threat from criminal interests.

Read UEFA's press release.