Finnish Conviction As FIFA’s Battle Against Soccer Match-Fixing Continues

July 20, 2011

Wilson Raj Perumal has convicted in a Helsinki court alongside nine players from two Finnish clubs who were paid between US$28, ailment 000 and US$71,000 to fix soccer matches.

He was described in court as “a member of international organised group doing betting scams” and his conviction marks a significant step in attempts to arrest the growth in corruption, which investigators believe spans the globe.

FIFA investigators are examining allegations of match-fixing or suspicious betting activity in national and club teams in more than 50 countries as they attempt to crack down on the spread of corruption.

Chris Eaton, FIFA’s head of security, welcomed Perumal’s conviction, but said the sentence was woefully inadequate as a deterrent and highlighted the challenge of tackling corruption in sport, which crosses national boundaries.

Eaton said: “The two-year prison term for Wilson Perumal is token at best. Given the damage inflicted to individuals and the image of football generally by Perumal, to me the penalty does not reflect the gravity of the crimes.

“I understand that there is no legislation in Finland that specifically covers fixing sporting results but this highlights a major problem in many countries. Tighter, more focused legislation to protect the integrity of sport needs to be a priority.”

Eaton’s department is currently working with a number of national federations and FIFA confederations around the world to assist them in dealing with suspected cases of fixing, and on developing a global prevention network.

“If Wilson Perumal’s real legacy is a better understanding of how criminals avoid detection while operating globally and freely roaming, and this then enables us to protect football, this is a far better outcome than a short prison term,” Eaton concluded.