Fifa partners UN crime office to stamp out match-fixing

| By Conor Mulheir
Fifa, the international governing body of football, has joined forces with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on International Anti-Corruption Day (9 December) for a new campaign encouraging the football industry to speak out on match-fixing.
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The partnership aims to raise awareness of Fifa’s confidential reporting platforms, and encourage players, coaches and officials to recognise, resist and report match-fixing.

The organisations are encouraging anyone approached by a suspected match-fixer to report corruption to Fifa via its website, email or integrity app.

Fifa said the backdrop of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and the associated economic uncertainty creates a higher integrity risk for players and clubs around the world.

International Anti-Corruption Day this year aims to highlight the need to “recover with integrity”, and the campaign features messages from a range of key figures in Fifa, such as its female player of the century Sun Wen, retired Colombian defender Iván Córdoba, and German referee Bibiana Steinhaus, among others.

Fifa signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with UNODC in September, in order to reiterate both organisations’ commitment to address the threats posed by crime in sport. As well as addressing the dangers of match-fixing, the MoU set out cooperation between the organisations to ensure children and young athletes were kept safe from violence and exploitation, through programmes such as Fifa Guardians.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino described the campaign as “a strong message about our absolute commitment and determination to eliminating match-fixing and corruption in football.

 “In these unprecedented times marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that we work together with partners such as the UNODC to ensure that players, coaches and officials have the confidence to speak out against match-fixing, as well as any other integrity issues,“ he said.

UNODC executive director Ghada Waly added that: “Sports and sporting events are vital to our well-being, and they have a crucial role to play in helping our societies and economies recover from the pandemic. That is why we must work together to ensure that sport recovers with integrity.

“The UNODC has joined forces with FIFA to support efforts aimed at preventing, detecting, reporting and sanctioning match-fixing and other forms of corruption in sport. Working with governments, sports organisations and all stakeholders, we can build on the UN Convention against Corruption to tackle match-fixing and keep sport fair for all.”

Gaming integrity body the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) said it had seen suspicious betting activity increase significantly in the third quarter of 2020, with over 450 alerts generated in the period.

This represented a 116.3% increase in alerts year-on-year. Alerts relating to football were most prevalent, with 370 generated in the period. 259 of those were generated in Europe, 55 in Asia, 17 in North America, 9 in Africa and 4 in Oceania.

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