1st Interpol/FIFA SPOC training course in CONCACAF concludes

MIAMI – The first-ever Interpol/FIFA training course specifically for Single Point of Contacts (SPOC) in CONCACAF concluded Friday at the Confederation’s Miami headquarters.

Representatives from Interpol and FIFA conducted the intensive four-day workshop for 11 SPOCs from each of CONCACAF’s three regions, including the first three female participants (complete list of participants below).

“Appointing the SPOCs was a first very essential step in order to build an efficient network within CONCACAF,” said Dr. Laila Mintas, CONCACAF Director of Sports Integrity.  “Training these people for their important task is the next significant step in our fight against match manipulations in our region.”

The course was developed to prepare fully persons tasked with establishing the facts in relation to reports or suspicions of match fixing/match manipulation within national associations and confederations.  With the purpose of educating SPOCs on how to plan and conduct an appropriate inquiry, as well as present results to a disciplinary body, the course is a key element in an overall strategy to combat increasing reports of match manipulation.  This way, coordinated steps can be implemented for an effective response.

"The development of fact finding competencies within football associations to effectively conduct an internal disciplinary enquiry, in liaison and coordination with law enforcement, is a key component of the INTERPOL strategy to prevent match-fixing,” said Dale Sheehan, Director of INTERPOL's Capacity Building and Training directorate.  “The professionalism and performance of the participants in this course was exemplary and INTERPOL is delighted that these Fact Finders join the national, regional and international fight against match fixing.”

SPOCs will liaise with the CONCACAF Sports Integrity Department regarding all integrity issues, in particular to receive and exchange general information relative to current threats and to inform CONCACAF about pending procedures.

Vital SPOC responsibilities include:

  • Conducting inquiries and/or investigations as a “fact finder” for or in close cooperation with the judicial body of his/her Member Association;
  • Liaising with the relevant national authorities, such as police and prosecuting authorities by submitting and exchanging and coordinating investigations);
  • Linking with FIFA Security in regard to integrity issues;
  • Initiating, establishing and maintaining integrity initiatives and education/prevention programs to combat match manipulation within Member Associations in coordination with CONCACAF;
  • Coordinating with the CONCACAF Integrity Department so that the Confederation’s education/prevention programs are implemented within Member Associations.

“FIFA is setting up a global network‎ of trained officers in football in order to form a concrete and effective structure to coordinate activities, investigate incidents, and to fight against match manipulation,” commented Ralf Mutschke, FIFA’s Director of Security Division.  “This increasing network will be the future defense line to meet and fight the challenges of organized crime and corruption.  The implementation of the Fact Finder Training, in collaboration with INTERPOL, is crucial to building the capacity on a national level to fulfil the tasks and requirements.

“FIFA highly values CONCACAF’s engagement to protecting the beauty of the game and contributing to the success of the FIFA Integrity Initiative.” 

In June, CONCACAF announced the beginning of the SPOC appointment process with the ultimate objective of identifying and designating a representative in each of the 41 Member Associations. 

“Having received this special tailored training, our SPOCs are prepared for their new positions,” expressed Dr. Mintas.

As an additional component of CONCACAF’s efforts to broaden its Embrace Diversity campaign, these qualified individuals will help coordinate the monitoring and elimination of any racist or discriminatory behavior during matches.  They will also have the responsibility of establishing diversity initiatives.

The course held in CONCACAF was the second conducted by Interpol/FIFA worldwide.  UEFA hosted the inaugural one in April of this year. 

Interpol/FIFA Training of Football Association Fact Finders Course
Miami, Florida, USA
October 13-17, 2014

Jacques Ambroise, Haiti
Andrew Joseph Bromley, Caribbean Football Union
Earl Cochrane, Canada
Robert Finzi-Smith, Jamaica  
Hubert Isenia, Curacao
Sushilla Jadoonanan, Trinidad & Tobago
Lisa Levine, USA
Rodolfo Ocasio, Puerto Rico
Karen Samuel, Grenada
Dominique Stowe, St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Elmer Gustav Torres, Belize