Fans of football on a worldwide basis are sick to the back teeth of match fixing. Not a season goes by that the issue doesn’t rear its ugly head and it’s finally moved FIFA to take evasive action to tackle it. News from one member of the FIFA team heavily involved with the process just goes to show how difficult it’s going to be to police.
FIFA security chief Chris Eaton has explained that match fixing in football is worth $90billion every year and that it’s more widespread than many though. It makes the illegal bets of $155million prevented in the Far East recently seems very small fry.
“Criminality involved in fixing football matches is global, enormous and organized. Football is too respected globally to not be protected. These are criminals taking advantage. They are not to be respected – they are not Robin Hoods – they are not good people. They hurt players and they destroy careers.”
In the interview with Reuters, Eaton said that the illegal activity is equal to the worldwide total for legal sports betting.
The one-time Interpol officer, added, “We protect young players, we protect young referees by teaching them to resist the temptations that these people are trying to take advantage of.
“FIFA is a football management organisation,” he added. “It is not an investigation organisation. We don’t conduct a lot of security operations with a little bit of football. We conduct a lot of football with a little bit of security. Prosecution is not my priority, in fact, not a priority at all.”
FIFA’s crackdown on match fixing is long overdue, as it has been allowed to go on in some parts of the world extensively with little attention being paid (see Bulgarian criminal law still allowing match fixing). Now that Interpol is involved though they should be able to get a firmer grip on the practice.