Match-fixing on rise in football in Europe, claim betting firms
The number of fixed football matches in Europe rose sharply last year and sporting authorities must take action urgently, a top organisation of betting firms said Tuesday
Brussels: The number of fixed football matches in Europe rose sharply last year and sporting authorities must take action urgently, a top organisation of betting firms said Tuesday.
Federbet, which is based in Brussels, said there were 110 matches they believed to be fixed in 2013-2014 in Europe, while there were suspicions about a further 350.
The total of 460 possibly fixed matches was up 20 percent from the previous year, the organisation said.
They included matches in Britain, Italy, France and Greece, as well as many eastern European countries.
"Every day all around the world there is an attempt at match-fixing. And this virus is getting bigger and bigger," Federbet general secretary Francesco Baranca told a press conference at the European parliament.
With the World Cup looming in Brazil, Baranca warned: "It is not so impossible that when they have learned to fix the match during the domestic competition they are also going to fix the match in the international competition."
He added: "We can solve this problem in quite an easy way but nobody wants to solve it. Federations are not listening to us, UEFA is not listening to us."
He praised FIFA however for "trying to speak a lot about the problem."
The suspect matches pinpointed in the Federbet report included one in Italy's Serie A -- last month's meeting of Catania and Atalanta -- and two in Serie B, with one in France's Ligue 2.
The matches in Britain involved one Women's Premier League game while the rest were two games in the League of Wales and 10 at non-league level in England.
European lawmaker Marc Tarabella, who backed the report, called for a response from sporting and political authorities alike.
He said that national football federations "often hesitate to back a complaint for fear that it might tarnish their competitions," and called for harsher penalties.
Tarabella said that FIFA had "heard the arguments of the European parliament and will have throughout the next World Cup strict controls in finances around each match."
The report comes days after the New York Times said a confidential FIFA report had raised concerns about World Cup match-fixing vulnerabilities, including influencing referee honesty.
In Britain, the National Crime Agency said last week it had launched a match-fixing investigation into a game in which Nigeria had to come from behind twice to draw against Scotland.