Interpol suspends cooperation with FIFA’s anti-match-fixing program

fifa-interpolThe unfolding corruption scandal surrounding the FIFA global football body has prompted global cops Interpol to walk away from a €20m deal to help combat match-fixing.

On Friday, Interpol announced it was suspending its FIFA agreement and freezing the €20m FIFA had given Interpol four years ago to fund a 10-year Integrity in Sport effort, which operated out of Singapore. Critics of the deal had voiced concern that the funding – the largest private donation Interpol ever received – raised conflict of interest issues.

These concerns had grown louder in the wake of the indictments filed against top FIFA execs last month by US and Swiss authorities. On June 3, Interpol issued wanted-person alerts for two former senior FIFA officials – including former VP Jack Warner – and four corporate executives caught up in the corruption investigation.

Interpol secretary general Juergen Stock released a statement saying his outfit remained “committed to developing our Integrity in Sport program” but Interpol had become concerned that FIFA wasn’t necessarily “compatible with the principles, aims and activities of Interpol.”

A FIFA flack expressed disappointment at Friday’s news, saying the anti-match-fixing program was “unrelated to the current issues surrounding FIFA and we believe that this unilateral decision will negatively impact the fight against criminal activity.”

The week saw FIFA score an own goal by sacking its longtime communications director Walter de Gregorio because he told the following joke on Swiss television. “The FIFA president, secretary general and communications director are in a car. Who’s driving? The police.” FIFA president Sepp Blatter was reportedly not amused, prompting De Gregorio to resign the next day. De Gregorio had been with FIFA since 2011.