According to JOHN ABBOTT of INTERPOL, which has 190 plus member countries, up to 80 of them have match fixing problems and football has to fight back!!! Today we heard that there is one major club in a European league that is controlled by a gambling syndicate and is under investigation as we speak !!. "Football is top of the league and cricket second in match-fixing".
Abbott has spent 35 years in law enforcement in the UK and is at present Chairman of the Interpol-FIFA steering group to combat corruption and match fixing in football. I spoke with MARK SUTCLIFFE, who has been CEO of the Hong Kong F.A. for two years, which next Friday starts their new professional league. He talked about a recent international U 16 tournament match in Hong Kong where he received a call on the morning of the match to say what the final score would be and that it was fixed, and so he called the police. They said they were too busy, and since both teams were from overseas and the betting was also overseas that they wouldn't do anything.
On another occasion last season a local league match was supposed to be fixed by local gamblers. As the teams left the pitch at The Happy Valley Stadium the police entered and arrested 6 of the players and three spectators!!! Sutcliffe had a sports consultancy business in England, but has worked on projects from Singapore to Kiev, and the 2012 Summer Olympics. Recently two Hong Kong professional clubs have been kicked out due to match fixing and corruption. HAPPY VALLEY is the national stadium- but all is not happy.
Another member of the panel was Emanuel Medeiros, former General Secretary of the Portuguese League. He is on the UEFA Professional Football Committee and CEO of Centre for Sports Security. His task force is addressing threats to sport at a global level, financial integrity, third-party ownership and the protection of young athletes. Finally, Darren Small is Director of Integrity at SPORTRADAR which works with UEFA, AFC and CONCACAF. Match detection tools and education are used in the ongoing fight against betting-related corruption and match-fixing.
We heard about a 'GHOST MATCH' supposedly organized by match fixers between a Spanish and Portuguese club to get punters to part with money for a match that didn't exist. We had the national team of Togo come to play in the Middle East which wasn't in fact the national team but composed of minor players paid to fix the result. We had Botswana F.A. executives being paid to influence international friendly matches an African referee team being given 'sexual favours' to influence a match in Singapore and being jailed when caught out.