Huge match-fixing revealed

The European police agency (Europol) has revealed that a wide-ranging investigation into match-fixing has uncovered more than 380 suspicious matches.

Last Updated: 05/02/13 at 20:23 Post Comment

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These games include World Cup and European Championship qualifiers and two UEFA Champions League games, one of which was in England.

Europol's chief Rob Wainwright said the investigation found "match fixing activity on a scale we have not seen before", with one of the matches an unnamed Champions League clash in England.

Wainwright revealed the probe uncovered around £7m in betting profits and £1.27m in bribes to players and officials and has already led to several prosecutions.

The investigation identified about 425 corrupt officials, players and serious criminals in 15 countries and 50 arrests have been made so far.

Wainwright also stated that the involvement of organised crime "highlights a big problem for the integrity of football in Europe" with Asian gambling cartels identified as part of the match fixing operation.

Wainwright would not reveal the identity of the Champions League match staged in England under suspicion due to "ongoing judicial proceedings" - but he did confirm it had taken place in the "last three to four years" and admitted England was not a country under particular scrutiny.

He said: "The focus has been on other countries, not the United Kingdom. However we were surprised by the scale generally of the criminal enterprise and just how widespread it was.

"It would be naive and complacent of those in the UK to think such a criminal conspiracy does not involve the English game and all the football in Europe."

Europol also found another 300 questionable games outside Europe, mainly in Africa, Asia, South and Central America.

There was though an element of mystery surrounding the investigation in England with the Football Association admitting they did not know about the probe.

A spokesman for the FA said: "The FA are not aware of any credible reports into suspicious Champions League fixtures in England, nor has any information been shared with us.

"While the Champions League comes under UEFA jurisdiction, The FA, alongside the Premier League, Football League and Conference, monitor markets for the top seven leagues and three major cup competitions in England and take matters of integrity in football extremely seriously."

Europe's football governing body stressed it had a zero-tolerance approach to match-fixing.

It added in a statement: "UEFA is aware of the statements made by Europol regarding the alleged match-fixing that has taken place in various football competitions and expects to receive further information in the coming days.

"As part of the fight against the manipulation of matches, UEFA is already co-operating with the authorities on these serious matters as part of its zero-tolerance policy towards match-fixing in our sport.

"Once the details of these investigations are in UEFA's hands, then they will be reviewed by the appropriate disciplinary bodies in order that the necessary measures are taken."

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