FIFA calls for strict match-fixing laws, pursuit of criminals

AFP, KUALA LUMPUR

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 - Page 20

Soccer authorities vowed to excise the “cancer” of match-fixing, but yesterday said tougher laws were needed worldwide to protect the bruised integrity of the world’s most popular sport.

FIFA director of security Ralk Mutschke told a two-day gathering with Interpol that the world governing body’s “zero tolerance” for match-fixing needs to be helped by “the right policies for law enforcement and the football community.”

The meeting comes following revelations two weeks ago that almost 700 matches worldwide, including Champions League ties and World Cup qualifiers, were targeted by gambling gangs.

“We are banning players and referees for life, but criminals are out there free — they get no sentence. That’s wrong,” he told reporters when asked to comment on Singapore’s refusal to arrest a key suspect wanted in Italy suspected of rigging games.

“We have to bring in governments to change legislation and laws. Many countries do not have laws to fight match manipulation,” Mutschke said.

He pointed to the acquittal in November last year of three players in Switzerland accused of committing fraud by throwing games, where a judge said there was no obvious victim.

Mutschke said FIFA was cooperating with the Council of Europe to draft legislation to fight match-fixing.