CONCACAF Integrity workshop in Panama a success

(ABOVE) Players and officials from Panamanian first-division side Tauro FC attend a CONCACAF Integrity Officer Program workshop.

PANAMA CITY, Panama – The CONCACAF Integrity Officer Program took an important step in its continuing battle against match manipulation this week, when two days of workshops were held in Panama to support the Panamanian Football Federation’s (FEPAFUT) own efforts in this area. 

CONCACAF Integrity Officer Hubert Isenia conducted presentations on February 23 & 24 to more than 600 participants, including separate sessions with players and coaches from each first-division team, as well as referees and other officials. 

The purpose of CONCACAF Integrity Officer Program workshops is educate members of the football family about the facets of match-fixing with the objective of ultimately protecting the game’s participants from organized criminals determined to influence results. 

In July 2014, CONCACAF’s 41 Member Associations (MAs) received information about the CONCACAF Integrity Officer Program and were urged to request a workshop that would be conducted by a CONCACAF Integrity Officer.  FEPAFUT availed itself to the opportunity and additional sessions with other MAs will follow soon. 

"The CONCACAF Integrity Officer Program plays a critical role in educating our football family, so that match manipulation can be prevented," said CONCACAF General Secretary Enrique Sanz. ''The workshop in Panama was very well received and is part of the Conferderation's ongoing efforts to safeguard our sport." 

The FEPAFUT seminar placed emphasis on multiple key topics related to match manipulation, including techniques used by match fixers to contact players and referees, tactics to resist approaches and the CONCACAF Integrity Reporting Mechanism. 

CIRM provides two different channels for individuals to report match manipulation incidents in a confidential and anonymous manner.  Through this system, any individual within the CONCACAF region has the ability to file safely a confidential, anonymous report electronically or via a telephone hotline. 

Additionally, the CONCACAF Code of Ethics was thoroughly reviewed.  The Code of Ethics prohibits behavior that damages or could damage football’s integrity.  It precludes members of the football family from betting on football matches (directly or indirectly), being involved with gambling companies and recommends not entering betting shops.  It also obligates the reporting of possible match-fixing incidents and cooperation in any CONCACAF investigation. 

Isenia is one of 25 Interpol-certified CONCACAF Integrity Officers, who last May took part in intensive “Train-the-Trainer” workshops that were aimed at strengthening the ongoing work to combat match-fixing in football.  CONCACAF Integrity Officers share their knowledge across the region by supporting MAs at a national level.