European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) have held a first summit with football officials from UEFA’s 49 nations to increase efforts in the fight against match fixing and other corruption in sport.
A total of 109 senior officials gathered at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague in the Netherlands for a conference organised in conjunction with UEFA.
“Nowadays, more than ever before, European football and the law enforcement sector need to remain united and offer their mutual support in seeking to protect our popular sport from this scourge, by cooperating in joint activities, implementing common projects and exchanging information in the area of match-fixing,” said Vincent Ven, UEFA Head of Anti-Match-Fixing.
Law enforcement officials suggested that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for action.
“Organised crime quickly understood that a lot of football clubs were suffering financially as a consequence of COVID-19,” Europol’s European Financial and Economic Crime Centre (EFECC) head Burkhard Mühl said.
“And where there is less money, players, coaches, officials and even club executives are increasingly vulnerable to being corrupted by fixers.
Delegates at the congress discussed increased cooperation between UEFA’s 55 integrity officers and officials at national and club level.
A report issued last year after investigations by Sportradar Integrity Services had detected over 1,100 matches with suspicious patterns during the course of the pandemic, of which 655 occurred during the first nine months of 2021.
“This first joint Europol-UEFA international conference is an important step forward in the fight against match-fixing, and sends out a strong signal that both organisations are to join forces to minimise this phenomenon,” said UEFA’s Angelo Rigopoulos, Managing Director of UEFA’s Integrity and Regulatory, said. –Insidethegames.biz