FIFA Make Historic INTERPOL Donation to Prevent Match-Fixing

May 10, 2011

FIFA has made a historic contribution to INTERPOL in its long-term fight against match-fixing in soccer after donating the largest grant in the company’s history from a private institution to create an unprecedented ten-year programme worth millions of euros a year at a dedicated FIFA Anti-Corruption Training Wing within the INTERPOL Global Complex (IGC) in Singapore.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter and INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald Noble made the announcement at a press conference held at the Home of FIFA in Zurich yesterday, May 9. Under the agreement, INTERPOL will receive EUR 4m (US$5.73m) in each of the first two years, followed by EUR 1.5m ($2.15m) in each of the following eight years, to create a total grant of EUR 20m ($28.67m).

INTERPOL’s longest-ever funded initiative will target illegal and irregular betting and match-fixing, the scale of which has been highlighted by recent fixing allegations and the involvement of Asian gambling syndicates in global match-fixing – with estimates by INTERPOL’s global law enforcement network that illegal soccer gambling is worth up to hundreds of millions of US dollars in Asia alone each year.

Blatter stated: “The threat of match-fixing in sport is a major one, and we are committed to doing everything in our power to tackle this threat. In the fight against illegal betting and match-fixing, the preventive measures that can be taken and the protection of the players and the integrity of the game are of the utmost importance. Joint work with the authorities and with INTERPOL is crucial for success, and for this reason we are very pleased to announce this contribution today, which will further enhance our cooperation.”

During the press conference, FIFA also announced the creation of an internal Betting Integrity Investigation Task Force, which will comprise members of FIFA’s Legal Division and Security Department, as well as the Early Warning System GmbH.

The FIFA President added: “Match-fixing shakes the very foundations of sport, namely fair play, respect and discipline. That’s why FIFA employs a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any infringement of these values.”

INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald Noble said: “By funding a long-term corruption prevention training programme to be designed and implemented by INTERPOL – the world’s largest international police institution with 188 member countries – to counter transnational organised crime’s attempts to corrupt the sport and its players, officials and administrators, FIFA has taken a significant step towards ensuring the integrity of football worldwide.

“As INTERPOL and FIFA look to the future, basing this anti-corruption initiative at INTERPOL’s upcoming Global Complex in Singapore while delivering training programmes from INTERPOL Regional Bureaus and offices all over the world will help both INTERPOL and FIFA achieve their common goal of keeping the world’s most popular sport free of the corrupt influences of transnational organised crime syndicates.

“Illicit betting and match-fixing rings have demonstrated their global reach to fundamentally undermine football from one continent to another by corrupting administrators, officials and players and they require a global response.”

Secretary General Noble outlined how links had been established between match-fixing, illegal betting and organised crime at international level and how organised criminals frequently engage in loan-sharking and use intimidation and violence to collect debts, forcing their desperate, indebted victims into drug smuggling and their family members into prostitution. 

“Today’s agreement between INTERPOL and FIFA therefore provides a unique opportunity to challenge corruption both on and off the pitch,” concluded the head of INTERPOL.