EUROPOL, revealed that nearly 700 games around the world have been fixed, including one Champions League fixture played in England “three or four years ago”.
Last month FIFA, the sport’s governing body, barred 41 players for fixing matches in South Korea; in December 2012 the president of the South African Football Association was suspended after FIFA determined that four exhibition matches before the 2010 World Cup had been fixed; but Europol has revealed that fixing of football games is also happening in the major football playing nations all over the globe.
Who started the investigation :
Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency has started this investigation and has alerted the world of football about the recent fixings in the matches. A concentrated investigation was done into these matches which lasted 18 months.
Who are behind the fixings? :
“This is the work of a suspected organized crime syndicate based in Asia and operated with criminal networks around Europe,” Rob Wainwright, director of European law enforcement agency Europol, told reporters.
How many games are under threat? :
As many as 680 games across the globes are being investigated for being fixed. There are 380 matches in Europe and 300 elsewhere in the world that have been investigated or are part of on-going inquiries.
When were these matches played? :
The matches, some of which have already been subject to successful criminal prosecutions, were played between 2008 and 2011.
How many players involved? :
A total of 425 players, officials and other individuals are suspected of being involved.
What are the clubs/players involved? :
Investigators said no names of players or clubs would be released while the investigation proceeded. However, the fixing also included top flight national league matches in several European countries, as well as a Champions League match played in Britain.
What’s the money involved? :
It is estimated that €16 million ($21.7m) had been bet on matches by criminals, yielding an €8 million ($10.8m) profit.
FIFA’s Reaction :
Fifa, which appointed Ralf Mutschke, a former Interpol official, as head of security in 2012, called for more co-operation with law enforcement agencies and sterner prison sentences for those outside “the football family”.
An FA spokesman said: “The FA are not aware of any credible reports into suspicious Champions League fixtures in England, nor has any information been shared with us.
“While the Champions League comes under UEFA jurisdiction, The FA, alongside the Premier League, Football League and Conference, monitor markets for the top seven leagues and three major cup competitions in England and take matters of integrity in football extremely seriously.”
UEFA’s Reaction :
The European football governing body said: “As part of the fight against the manipulation of matches, Uefa is already co-operating with the authorities on these serious matters. Once the details are in Uefa’s hands, then they will be reviewed in order that the necessary measures are taken.”
The results of the European Championship qualifiers, two Champions League ties and several top league games which have featured in the inquiry will be passed onto Uefa.