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28 August 2012

Combating match-fixing and corruption focus of INTERPOL workshop in Southern Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Educating law enforcement and sporting authorities on the threats to football posed by match-fixing and corruption was the focus of an INTERPOL Integrity in Sport workshop hosted by the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) in South Africa.

The two-day workshop (25 and 26 August) brought together more than 70 regional football administrators, players’ association representatives, referees, betting regulators and law enforcement from eight countries in the region to raise their awareness of corruption in sport, the strategies used by its perpetrators and successful methods to detect and counteract them.

This was the third in a series of training workshops organized by INTERPOL as part of its initiative with FIFA to develop and implement a global training, education and prevention programme with a focus on regular and irregular betting, as well as match-fixing.

South African Football Association President, Kirsten Nematandani said that in order to be successful in the fight against corruption in football, it requires the dedicated commitment of all stakeholders involved.

“Match fixing, age cheating and illegal betting are cancers which should not be tolerated because they rob the game of its innocence and threaten to undermine the good efforts of honest athletes and administrators,” said Mr Nematandani. “The objectives of the workshop fit it very well with our Associations’ current initiatives to combat corruption and to learn from FIFA, INTERPOL and our sister federations about their successes.”

Details of FIFA’s Early Warning System and its history will also be shared with participants as part of a general overview of the global sports betting market, in addition to case studies and lessons learned at the national level.

“The problem of match-fixing is a widespread phenomenon affecting all regions of the world. That is why INTERPOL and FIFA have decided to cooperate and seek global assistance,” said Ralph Mutschke, FIFA Director of Security. He added that it was an excellent workshop which started to lay the foundation for improving the fight against match-fixing and corruption.

Michaela Ragg, head of INTERPOL’s Integrity in Sport unit, said: “We were delighted with the enthusiastic participation by COSAFA and the delegates and their proposals for future action against match-fixing.”

The eight countries attending the workshop were: Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.