Integrity in sport

The football community is faced with a significant number of match-fixing incidents and allegations of corruption. Match-fixing in football is a global challenge, with more than 60 countries initiating investigations over the past two years.

Estimates of the money made through illegal betting alone run into hundreds of millions of euros annually, while the use of Internet gambling networks has made it extremely easy to bet on matches anywhere in the world.

With large profits to be made, match-fixing has become more and more attractive to criminals and organized crime groups. Match-fixing also poses a wider danger, as the money generated is used by criminals for other illegal activities.

It has never been more important to implement coordinated strategies to prevent match-fixing, incorporating stakeholders on national, regional and international levels.

INTERPOL’s response

INTERPOL and FIFA entered into a joint initiative with two main aims:

  • To educate and train key actors in football on how to recognize, resist and report attempts to corrupt or fix matches;
  • To better prepare law enforcement on how to investigate and cooperate in corruption or match-fixing related cases.

INTERPOL’s Integrity in Sport programme is a global training, education and prevention initiative with a focus on match-fixing as well as irregular and illegal betting.

The objective is to raise key actors’ awareness and understanding of the phenomenon of match-fixing, the strategies used by its perpetrators and the methods to detect and counteract them. The programme offers a number of tools to protect football from corruption, including national and regional workshops, and e-learning modules.

Added to this framework is a wide range of INTERPOL services which together form a multifaceted strategy, able to effectively address match-fixing and corruption in football.

Multifaceted strategy

  • INTERPOL Major Event Support Teams (IMESTs) can be deployed to assist member countries in the preparation, coordination and implementation of security arrangements for major events, including sporting events such as the Olympics or FIFA World Cup. IMEST team members facilitate the real-time exchange among all 190 INTERPOL member countries of messages and vital police data, including fingerprints, photos, wanted person notices, and data relating to stolen and lost travel documents and stolen motor vehicles.
  • Operation Soga is an ongoing tactical operation coordinated by INTERPOL to disrupt the illegal soccer gambling activities of criminal organizations in Asia. As of 2013, four Soga operations have resulted in:
    • 2,360 successful raids;
    • The closure of illegal gambling dens which handled illegal bets worth more than USD 2 billion;
    • The seizure of more than USD 27 million in cash.
  • The Match-Fixing Task Force is a specialist network of investigators. The initiative provides an international cooperation platform enabling member countries to enhance the exchange of intelligence and experience and to develop strategies to combat the organized crime networks involved in match-fixing across geographical borders.

Protecting integrity in football

INTERPOL’s Integrity in Sport programme offers a continuum of learning based on five core principles: partnerships, information, coordination, prevention and proactivity (PICPP).

The programme can assist football associations, government departments, law enforcement agencies and other relevant stakeholders in developing prevention strategies, integrity units and training courses for specific audiences.

  • Partnerships: No organization can tackle the problem of match-fixing alone. A cross-sector approach is necessary at national, regional and international levels in order to successfully reduce match-fixing. Strategies should incorporate partnerships between national football associations and betting organizations as well as public authorities including law enforcement and regulators.
  • Information: All partners – including stakeholders, key actors and targets – need general details about match-fixing to ensure there is a shared understanding of the problem. Each group also needs specific advice that can directly assist them in their individual role in protecting the integrity of sport.
  • Coordination: It is important that all stakeholders operate in a coordinated manner, especially at national level, to ensure a comprehensive and unified approach to both the prevention of match-fixing and responses to allegations of match-fixing.
  • Prevention: This is the most important factor in tackling match-fixing and corruption in football. Prevention measures include awareness raising, training and education, as well as deterrents such as regulations that ensure sanctions for unprofessional behaviour.
  • Proactivity: Exhibiting leadership and acting proactively is essential to creating an effective strategy to protect football from match-fixing. Anticipating threats and putting the necessary preventative measures in place is necessary for the long-term preservation of integrity in football.
11 May 2015

Boosting national efforts against match-fixing focus of INTERPOL-FIFA meeting in Canada

06 May 2015

Internationally wanted match-fixing suspect in Italian custody

04 May 2015

INTERPOL issues global alert for potentially lethal illicit diet drug

30 October 2014

FIFA, FIFPro and INTERPOL launch joint campaign to fight match manipulation

29 September 2014

Juventus stars join INTERPOL Turn Back Crime team to show criminals the red card

09 September 2014

INTERPOL and IOC Chiefs meet to develop joint action on sports integrity

18 July 2014

Illegal gambling networks across Asia targeted in INTERPOL-led operation

15 June 2014

INTERPOL statement in response to false report published by the Sunday Times

10 June 2014

INTERPOL training to help law enforcement protect integrity of 2014 FIFA World Cup

07 June 2014

Lionel Messi scores again with INTERPOL’s #TurnBackCrime campaign

05 June 2014

Police and public unite behind INTERPOL campaign to #TurnBackCrime

12 May 2014

CONCACAF signs agreement with INTERPOL to combat match-fixing

08 May 2014

Empowering members of the football community to respond to match-manipulation focus of INTERPOL-FIFA training at UEFA

08 April 2014

INTERPOL congratulates footballer Simone Farina on appointment as role model for Youth Olympics

07 April 2014

Tackling match-fixing in football focus of INTERPOL workshop in Senegal

26 February 2014

Preventing match-fixing and corruption focus of INTERPOL-FIFA conference for Oceania region

30 January 2014

INTERPOL and IOC team up to strengthen sports security and integrity

22 October 2013

Strengthening security at Rio 2016 Olympic Games focus of agreement with INTERPOL

26 September 2013

INTERPOL and FIFA unveil e-learning tools to protect football from match-fixing

23 September 2013

INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation reaches new heights

18 September 2013

Suspected leader of match-fixing gang and 13 others arrested in Singapore

11 September 2013

INTERPOL holds first training for match-fixing investigators

07 March 2013

Croatian police chief visit to INTERPOL focuses on reinforcing border security

21 February 2013

Match-fixing suspect arrested following close police cooperation between Singapore and Italy via INTERPOL

21 February 2013

Match-fixers target of expanded INTERPOL global task force

21 February 2013

INTERPOL conference says coordination essential to combat match-fixing

20 February 2013

Addressing organized crime threats to match-fixing focus of INTERPOL conference

14 February 2013

CONCACAF chief during INTERPOL visit pledges support to investigate allegations of match-fixing in Latin America

25 January 2013

CONCACAF hosts INTERPOL-FIFA Integrity in Sport workshop

18 January 2013

INTERPOL conference highlights partnerships and training as key in combating match-fixing

17 January 2013

INTERPOL, FIFA and UEFA take joint stand against match-fixing at groundbreaking Rome conference

28 November 2012

Stamping out football corruption through education focus of INTERPOL experts meeting in Singapore

12 November 2012

Protecting sport from organized crime the focus of INTERPOL panel at International Anti-Corruption Conference

17 October 2012

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

28 August 2012

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

08 August 2012

Tackling match-fixing and corruption focus of INTERPOL workshop for Central America and Mexico

18 July 2012

Arrests across Asia in INTERPOL-led operation targeting illegal soccer gambling networks

04 July 2012

Dutch football association visits INTERPOL to boost sports integrity cooperation

02 July 2012

INTERPOL chief praises safe conclusion of EURO 2012 in Ukraine

28 June 2012

INTERPOL Chief gives security perspective on London Olympics in AP television news report

09 June 2012

UEFA European Football Championship safety an INTERPOL priority

25 April 2012

Keeping sport clean needs enhanced policing and prevention, INTERPOL Chief tells summit

13 April 2012

Finland hosts first INTERPOL-FIFA sports integrity workshop

05 March 2012

INTERPOL and Italian National Police launch inaugural high-level seminar under FIFA grant to fight match-fixing

02 March 2012

INTERPOL Chief praises appointment of Ralf Mutschke as head of newly-created FIFA Security Division

09 May 2011

FIFA makes historic contribution to INTERPOL in long-term fight against match-fixing

Match Fixing: The ugly side of the beautiful game

Message: Ronald K. Noble, INTERPOL Secretary General

Simone Farina