'A firm disciplinary stance'
Friday, February 26, 2010
UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino explains the background to recent disciplinary decisions involving match officials, based on information from match-fixing and corruption investigations.
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UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body last week took decisions in respect of three European match officials, based on information from ongoing investigations by German police into match-fixing and corruption.
UEFA president Michel Platini and the UEFA Executive Committee have pledged firm action against anyone in the game found guilty of any kind of corruption, and Mr Platini has urged the football family to make a full contribution to rid football of this phenomenon.
UEFA's general secretary Gianni Infantino explained the background to UEFA.com.
UEFA.com: Gianni Infantino, which referees were investigated by the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body last week? Are these cases related to the investigation into betting and corruption revealed by the Bochum police last November?
Gianni Infantino: The match officials involved in these cases are referees Anton Genov [Bulgaria], Novo Panić [Bosnia and Herzegovina], Oleh Orekhov [Ukraine] and assistant referee Tomislav Šetka [Croatia]. Apart from Genov, all cases have a link with the Bochum case.
UEFA.com: What were they 'charged' with?
Gianni Infantino: They were charged with violation of the principles of loyalty and integrity under Article 5 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, 2008 edition.
UEFA.com: What was the outcome?
Gianni Infantino: With regard to Anton Genov, the Control and Disciplinary Body desisted from taking any disciplinary measures. Novo Panić has been banned for life from carrying out any football-related activities. He has lodged an appeal with UEFA against the verdict, and the appeal hearing date will be communicated in due course. Tomislav Šetka is suspended from carrying out his function until 30 June 2011. Oleh Orekhov has been provisionally suspended from carrying out his function until the disciplinary hearing of 18 March, where the panel will examine the merits of the case.
UEFA.com: Can they appeal, and, if so, when?
Gianni Infantino: Yes, according to UEFA's disciplinary regulations they have three days to appeal from receiving the written verdict with the grounds.
UEFA.com: As the disciplinary body desisted from taking disciplinary measures against Anton Genov, will UEFA now appoint him to European matches again?
Gianni Infantino: The technical sub-committee of the UEFA Referees Committee will meet at the end of the season to review the referee categories. At this meeting, the members will discuss the decision of the UEFA disciplinary body not to sanction the referee Anton Genov. In the meantime, Anton Genov will anyway not be appointed by the UEFA Referees Committee during the current [knockout] stages of the UEFA competitions. The decision to appoint a referee is based on skills, experience, availability and trust. The UEFA Referees Committee takes its decision with all these criteria in mind.
UEFA.com: Will Genov or Orekhov – as he is provisionally suspended – be appointed to matches at domestic level?
Gianni Infantino: Apart from Genov, this depends on whether FIFA will extend the UEFA verdicts to a worldwide level.
UEFA.com: How does UEFA select its officials, or do they get proposed by the national associations?
Gianni Infantino: The referees are proposed by the national associations to FIFA each year. It is FIFA's task to accept, or not, a referee to the international list. UEFA then simply uses the European referees from the FIFA list. UEFA then categorises the referees on the European FIFA list based on performances at UEFA matches. There are five categories. Referees from all countries start their international career in the lowest category, with the exception of referees from the big five countries – England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – who start already one category higher. Promotions and demotions are decided on a twice-yearly basis.
UEFA.com: What procedures will UEFA put in place to guard against such possible corruption in the future?
Gianni Infantino: UEFA, together with its member associations, has already taken a series of measures in order to fight match-fixing and corruption. These cases show the results that we are starting to achieve. One important project that we have launched – the Betting Fraud Detection System – highlights suspicious betting patterns around games, and allows us to focus our investigations, thereby helping to prevent match-fixing. The system has been implemented not only for all of UEFA's matches, but also for all first and second-division matches in our 53 member associations, and this is where we can support them in this campaign. UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body has also taken a firm stance, as shown by the verdicts in these cases, provided that the evidence is available. In addition, we are working internally to develop 'field intelligence' on all of these criminal actions, and to provide higher awareness training for the referees. However, I must stress that this is not just about match officials alone. President Platini has made a call to the entire football family to help – because this is a fight we have to undertake together.