INTERPOL on July 20, 2011 released the following:
“Opinion Editorial by INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble
19 July 2011
The New York Times
The challenge in fighting corruption in soccer in the 21st century is huge. Bets can be made on all aspects of matches, from the coin toss to the first corner kick to the winner and even the point difference.
Corruption in international football is widespread, which allows players and officials to get away with fixing matches, especially because the victims, like fans and sponsors, are often unaware that they have been cheated. There is no injured party in a position to report that a crime has been committed. When match fixing does surface, police often find it impossible to fully investigate fast-moving cases in which the evidence and the suspects are in distant countries and operate largely online.
To achieve real success in cleaning up football, one must focus on preventing future match-fixing. Prosecutors must think beyond their case and share information across jurisdictions so that other corrupt individuals and thrown matches can be identified. Punishment of those caught must be severe to discourage others, and any leniency must be tied to obtaining information about the illegal gambling syndicates that buy players and fix matches. The news media must continue to investigate and widely publicize match-fixing cases and how they are resolved.
The problem is that public confidence in FIFA’s ability to police itself is at its lowest point ever. But FIFA has already taken several steps that should help to not only root out match fixing and corruption but also clean up its reputation and bring integrity back to the game.
It has put in place an early warning system in which it receives data from teams and legal gambling establishments to identify suspicious matches or unusual betting patterns that may signal match fixing.
FIFA has established a security department headed by a former INTERPOL official, Chris Eaton, to respond quickly to suspicious matches or reports of match fixing worldwide.
It has identified outside experts to propose stricter and more effective rules concerning the conduct of elected FIFA representatives in the selection of match venues and elections.
To head an internal investigation of corruption, it has hired a firm run by the former F.B.I. director Louis J. Freeh to work with Robert J. Torres Jr., a FIFA ethics committee member who is a judge in Guam.
FIFA also has made a long-term commitment to work with INTERPOL to establish a FIFA anti-corruption program in our new Global Complex for Innovation, to be located in Singapore. The work will be managed entirely by INTERPOL with no interference or improper influence from FIFA or its stakeholders.
As long as FIFA maintains the direction it has set, and as long as law enforcement works cooperatively to uproot transnational crime from sports, both FIFA’s reputation and the integrity of matches will be restored.”
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