FIFA security chief Chris Eaton has claimed that match-fixing in soccer is worth US$90bn every year.
In an interview with Reuters Eaton revealed that the predicted value of the illegal industry matches that of legal sports betting following a move by FIFA president Sepp Blatter to pledge US$28.5m towards a dedicated anti-corruption unit based in Singapore to fight match-fixing through Interpol last week.
Eaton added: “Criminality involved in fixing football matches is global, enormous and organised. Football is too respected globally to not be protected. These are criminals taking advantage. They are not to be respected – they are not Robin Hoods – they are not good people. They hurt players and they destroy careers.”
Blatter’s presidential rival, Mohamed Bin Hammam, has claimed that the incumbent chief failed to consult the FIFA executive committee before unveiling the new venture with Interpol.
One-time Interpol officer, Eaton said: “We protect young players, we protect young referees by teaching them to resist the temptations that these people are trying to take advantage of.
“FIFA is a football management organisation. It is not an investigation organisation. We don’t conduct a lot of security operations with a little bit of football. We conduct a lot of football with a little bit of security. Prosecution is not my priority, in fact, not a priority at all.”