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17 October 2012 - Media release

INTERPOL applauds appointment by Aston Villa of Italian footballer who exposed match-fixing

LYON, France – INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble has welcomed as a positive development for sports the appointment by English football club Aston Villa of Italian defender Simon Farina with its Football Development unit, where Mr Farina’s responsibilities will include developing Aston Villa’s youth programme on integrity in sports.

In November 2011 the Gubbio defender rejected an offer of EUR 200,000 to fix the outcome of a match and reported the attempted bribe to the police.

With Simone Farina a guest of honour at FIFA’s Congress in Budapest in May 2012, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said: “Simone Farina is an example of integrity for all of the football world, from professional players to children who are just starting to play the game. FIFA recognized Simone’s courage and the fact that he is a role model for the youth by naming him a FIFA Ambassador for fair play earlier this year.

“I was very pleased to see that a top football club like Aston Villa have also realized the value of having someone like Simone working in their youth and education programme. Such a move highlights the efforts to eradicate match-fixing from our sport, something which we are committed to achieving in partnership with organizations such as INTERPOL,” added Mr Blatter.

Aston Villa Chief Executive Paul Faulkner said: “Simone will bring a whole depth of experience to our community coaching programme and we’re delighted as a Club to have him here, carrying on an important role in the area of youth development.”

Since joining the club in September, Simone Farina has already completed the Level One Award in Coaching Football to become an FA qualified coach and said he was delighted to be working with Aston Villa to help to develop young players of the future.

“I’m really pleased that Simone has taken up this opportunity and that he has fit in quickly and so well with our community coaching programme,” said Villa Chairman Randy Lerner.

Simone Farina’s sports integrity was also recognized by INTERPOL earlier this year with the presentation of a Commemorative Medal in Rome, Italy. As part of INTERPOL’s ‘Fund for a Safer World,’ the medal acknowledges those who make an effective contribution to crime prevention and law enforcement at the local, national and global level.

“Simone Farina is a football defender both on and off the pitch. He showed integrity and courage by turning down and reporting to the police an attempted bribe to corrupt the outcome of a match; he needs to become just as important a role model for our youth like stars such as Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Noble.

“Corruption in sport is a very complex problem for which there is no quick fix.  In addition to strong enforcement efforts, all those linked to the ‘beautiful game’ must place a great emphasis on prevention.  In this respect Simone Farina’s appointment by Aston Villa as a coach in its community outreach programme will allow him to continue to work to keep football clean,” added the INTERPOL Chief, pointing to the INTERPOL-FIFA Training, Education and Prevention Initiative launched in 2011 as a key element in supporting the football community in its fight against match-fixing.

"We commend the entire Aston Villa organization, and especially its leadership, for placing such great emphasis on maintaining integrity in football by employing Simone Farina ‒ a shining star of integrity," concluded INTERPOL Secretary General Noble.

Simone Farina interview