UEFA Intensify Anti-Corruption Battle

March 22, 2011

European soccer’s governing body UEFA has stepped up its fight against corruption in the sport by approving the establishment of a network of integrity officers around Europe, while Ukraine’s preparations for Euro 2012 have again been called into question.

The news was announced on Monday, March 21, following the conclusion of UEFA’s latest Executive Committee meeting in Paris. Committee members approved the recommendations made by the working group on corruption/match-fixing which focus on establishing the network, which will involve all 53 national associations, and fostering collaboration with state authorities.

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino told reporters: “In the countries where it has been possible to fight effectively against match-fixing, it has been possible only thanks to the support of the authorities. We cannot do this by ourselves as we are only a sports organisation. But what we can do is act very strongly. If you don’t eradicate the cancer before it starts to grow, then it can become a danger, and we will not permit it to become a danger.”

In other news, Infantino also confirmed that stadia in Kiev and Lviv are unlikely to be completed by a June deadline for the tournament Ukraine is co-hosting with Poland. Despite Ukraine’s problems, UEFA’s general secretary has stated the delays in Kiev and Lviv will not affect preparations for the tournament.

Infantino added: “They (the stadia) will be ready by October at the latest and there will be enough time to test them from the month of October. We knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. But in the end it will be a magnificent celebration of European football.”