Attendees (pictured) of the FIFA/CONCACAF/UNCAF Referee Assistance Program workshop for refereeing department heads in Costa Rica, June 17-19, 2014.
MIAMI – CONCACAF’s commitment in the battle against match-fixing took another important step forward last month in Costa Rica.
The CONCACAF Integrity Department sent out its first Integrity Officer to educate the heads of refereeing departments from 11 CONCACAF-affiliated member associations about the threats of match-fixing.
At a three-day FIFA/CONCACAF/UNCAF Referee Assistance Program workshop (June 17-19) that focused on the advancement of match officiating, best practices were shared and discussions stimulated on topics such as physical fitness, nutrition, management and integrity.
A component of maintaining trust in the game is recognizing and preventing match-fixing. Due to the crucial role of referees in achieving that objective, seminar participants were provided with the educational tools necessary for them to engage appropriately in that process.
The presenting CONCACAF Integrity Officer -- Mr. Joseph Ramirez -- is a former General Secretary of the Costa Rican Football Federation and a trained INTERPOL Certified Instructor of Footballers, Referees and Coaches in the Prevention of Match-Fixing. He detailed the different aspects of match-fixing around the world, especially as it pertained to match officials. The audience was made aware of the threats that match-fixing poses to the game and the various ways in match-fixers approach referees.
CONCACAF Integrity Officers are being dispatched across the region as part of the CONCACAF Integrity Action Plan to support member associations in the fight against match-fixing by conducting presentations to target groups of the match-fixers: players, referees, coaches and club managers.
As part of the CONCACAF Integrity Initiative, all participants in an upcoming tournaments and friendly matches will be required to sign an integrity declaration, affirming that they will refrain from any conduct that could damage the integrity of a game, and racist or discriminatory behavior.
The ultimate aim is to protect football’s participants from organized criminals, who are determined to manipulate results.
CONCACAF’s 25 Interpol-certified trainers are qualified to deliver ample instructive information, which will enable members of the football family to recognize, resist and report match-fixing attempts before they lead to actual manipulation.
All course attendees in Costa Rica expressed interest in having a similar conference on match-fixing in their own respective countries. CONCACAF Integrity Officers will be assigned to those future workshops as well.
UNCAF/CONCACAF/FIFA REFEREE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Workshop for Heads of Refereeing Departments
June 17-19, 2014 (Costa Rica)
Ronald Gutierrez, FIFA-Referee Assistance Program Coordinator
Victor Estrada, UNCAF/CONCACAF Coordinator