INTERPOL calls on investigators to share evidence of fixed matches with football associations in the region
LYON, France - During a visit to the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon this week, the General Secretary of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) reaffirmed the organization's commitment to fighting corruption in football through education, among other preventive provisions, and pledged to investigate potential cases of match-fixing allegations in the region.
CONCACAF General Secretary, Enrique Sanz, and Deputy General Secretary, Ted Howard, met with INTERPOL Secretary General, Ronald K. Noble, to discuss opportunities for closer cooperation between the two organizations in preventing and combating match-fixing and other potential threats to the sport.
Followed by Europol's investigation into match-fixing uncovered new cases of matches that had possibly been fixed around the world, INTERPOL has renewed its commitment to working with football federations in all regions to ensure that all allegations are thoroughly investigated.
The recent Joint Investigation Team (JIT) involving Europol and national police across Europe, codenamed Operation Veto, revealed 380 suspect football matches in Europe that were already under investigation, and brought to light some 300 cases of alleged match-fixing in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
"It is important that CONCACAF and the football community in other regions are given all the leads and evidence uncovered by Operation Veto so we can assess the allegations and take the appropriate actions," said CONCACAF General Secretary Sanz. "All alleged fixed matches should be identified, individuals that have been involved specified and the perpetrators brought to justice for the future of football to continue its healthy journey to impart good role models to society."
As part of the organization's continuous efforts to prevent and fight match-fixing, CONCACAF has invited representatives from INTERPOL's Integrity in Sport program to speak to players and officials in July about the potential dangers posed by match-fixing during the Gold Cup and other CONCACAF competitions.
"As demonstrated by the sheer number of cases occurring in all regions of the world, match-fixing is truly a global problem, and as such requires a global response," said INTERPOL Secretary General Noble. "I commend CONCACAF in taking proactive steps towards protecting the sport from this threat, and I call on the authorities involved in the JIT Operation Veto to provide all evidence of possible match-fixing incidents occurring in their jurisdictions to the concerned football federations."
As part of CONCACAF's continuous commitment to preserving the integrity of the game and in alignment with FIFA guidelines, the confederation is in the process of identifying the necessary measures while setting several relevant preventive provisions in the form of courses and trainings. To counterbalance education and prevention efforts, CONCACAF is also working to explore appropriate legislation that will provide the context for parameters of sporting laws to exist.
To conclude, CONCACAF invited all other accountable stakeholders to integrate efforts toward finding an optimal solution for these intolerable crimes.
"The football family has to play a fundamental role in this battle against match fixing through education, surveillance and sanction. However, we must work in close partnership with all other affected sports, governments, law enforcement agencies, media, fans and society as a whole," concluded Sanz.
CONCACAF has already hosted two regional INTERPOL-FIFA Integrity in Sport workshops - the first in August of 2012 in Guatemala City for Central America and Mexico, and the second in January 2013 in New York City for the USA and Canada. A third workshop for the confederation's Caribbean members will take place in Panama at their Congress in April.