Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said that an 18-month review has uncovered 380 possible fixed European matches from the World Cup, Euro Qualifiers and Champions League. Another 300 matches outside of Europe have also been labeled as suspect for match fixing as well. Europol has found some evidence pointing towards a Singapore-based group who may be involved in some of the match fixing.
Europol did not give any more information about possible suspects, suspicious matches, players, or officials. Europol director Rob Wainwright said to media: “This is a sad day for European football,” He also said the criminals were making money on the fixed matches “on a scale and in a way that threatens the very fabric of the game.”
Europol found €8 million or $10.9 million in betting profits and also €2 million or $2.7 million in bribes to players and referees. It was also found that 425 officials, club personnel, players and criminals from at least 15 countries were involved in European match-fixing over the last 4 years, and 50 have already been taken into custody. In Singapore, €100,000 or $136,500 were spent per match to bribe players and officials.
Europol is not an official authority, although, it gives advice and directions to authorities in the nations that make up Europe. Ralf Mutschke, FIFA’s director of security, reported that: “FIFA can ban players, referees and club officials, it is powerless to sanction people not directly involved in the sport.
“For people outside of football, currently the custodial sentences imposed are too weak and offer little to deter someone from getting involved in match-fixing,” he added.
In the upcoming 2013 Major League Soccer season, players have been banned from using cell phones and electronic communication devices within the locker room from one hour before kickoff until the end of the match.
Should world leagues be looking towards was the MLS has done to protect against match fixing? What else could be done? Let me know your thoughts on twitter @jakevendramin, also, follow for all the latest updates and information on the match-fixing situation, as well as the Vancouver Whitecaps, the MLS and the rest of the world of football.