FIFA to Hand Out Rewards and Pardons to Match-Fixing Whistleblowers

October 18, 2011

FIFA has confirmed rewards and pardons will be given to match-fixing whistle blowers in a bid to eliminate from the game.

Soccer’s world governing body believes by providing incentives to players, administrators and officials involved in illegal betting it will encourage them to come clean. The controversial scheme, which comes into force in January, will reward those who come forward inside the first month, with potential amnesties being offered for a further three months.

However, only those deemed by an independent process to have been ”unfairly compromised” would escape sanction, while there would be no immunity from criminal prosecution.

FIFA’s head of security, Chris Eaton, has explained how many players involved in match-fixing were targeted at a young age by criminals and often came under intolerable pressure from their own families or team-mates to take part in the practice. And he believes it is FIFA’s responsibility to provide these people with the support networks they need in order for them to blow the whistle.

Speaking at the Professional Players Federation national conference, Eaton said: ”It’s so important that players have a way that they can report this. Recognise, resist and report – it’s the three Rs. We’re going to have a rewards programme for one month from January, followed then by a hotline and amnesty programme probably for three months, all managed independently.

”This will then be followed by an assessment programme, followed by some sort of amnesty for the players who have been unfairly compromised, and there’ll be rehabilitation for those players.

”When a player’s compromised at the age of 16 or 15 – perhaps they’re under the influence of their father or their mother, their family, or the influence of a senior player – there needs to be some credit given to their situation. FIFA will engage upon that next year, finished by the middle of the year and then we will follow the Sepp Blatter doctrine, which is absolute zero tolerance.”

Eaton, a former policeman who spent a decade at Interpol, claimed the threat of match-fixing in English football was ”extremely serious” and insisted tackling it required an international approach.

”Interpol is going to be training and teaching an instructing all players, administrators and officials how to recognise criminals and a criminal approach and how to resist them and where to report it. They need to find an independent authority to report it to, an international independent authority.”

The rewards on offer would not always be financial he explained.

”The reward might not be monetary, the reward might well be some sort of process by which they are recognised,” he said. ”Sometimes, people are rewarded by the fact they’re getting it off their chest as well. It can be a variety of things – it doesn’t have to be money.”

FIFA’s inability to offer immunity from criminal prosecution would make their scheme unappealing which Eaton vehemently denies.

”I expect players to come forward,” he said. ”I have been involved now with FIFA for 12 months and I have already had many players approaching me with information, no matter the consequences. In their heart, they love their sport. In their heart, they love their country. In their heart, they want to do the right thing.”