UEFA will continue to make a full contribution to the fight against match-fixing and corruption – and has emphasised that the support of the public authorities is necessary in the battle to eliminate this phenomenon from the game.
Speaking after the UEFA Executive Committee's latest meeting in Paris, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino explained that the committee had approved the setting up of a network of integrity officers across Europe, which involves all 53 national associations. In addition, cooperation with state and police authorities will be fostered, as their help is essential in fighting match-fixing and corruption.
UEFA is operating its own betting fraud detection system which monitors thousands of matches around the clock. Mr Infantino said that the negative phenomenon represented a threat to football's overall integrity and well-being.
"It is a danger in as far as it affects the soul of football, and this is the reason why, from UEFA's point of view, we decided some time ago to tackle this issue as strongly as possible. The working group was set up to look at what we are doing now and what we can improve.
"We are taking this very seriously. Today we are monitoring 29,000 matches per season – all UEFA matches and all first and second-division matches in all 53 national associations, to see whether there are irregular betting patterns or not. You are also dependent on the support of the police authorities. We are speaking here about criminal networks – this is the reason why we need the police forces in all countries, and the public prosecutors, to be aware of this issue and to help us tackle it.
"In the countries where it has been possible to fight efficiently against match-fixing, it has been possible only thanks to the support of the authorities," Mr Infantino added. "We cannot do this – we are only a sports organisation. But what we can do is act very strongly.
"There is zero tolerance – if someone wants to cheat in football, there is no place [for them]," the UEFA general secretary concluded. "If you don't eradicate the cancer before it starts to develop, then it can become a danger, and we will not allow it to become a danger."
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