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26 February 2014

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

NADI, Fiji – Raising awareness and understanding of the threat to football posed by match-fixing is the focus of an INTERPOL Integrity in Sport-FIFA conference co-hosted by the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), the Fiji Football Association and the Fiji Police.

The two-day meeting (26 and 27 February) brings together nearly 100 regional football administrators, players’ associations, football association presidents, Chief Executive Officers, government agencies and police officials from 11 countries across the region.

Identifying the tactics used by match-fixers, ways to recognize, resist and report them and methods for sharing good practice in protecting the integrity of sport are among the topics being addressed, in addition to the importance of information collection and exchange.

Delivering the keynote address, Fijian Minister for Youth and Sports, Vilame Naupoto said; “The relevant sports stakeholders here in Fiji are looking forward to the outcome and recommendations of this conference, and will certainly use them to put in place or enhance existing mechanisms that are more effective in fighting this threat and help maintain and preserve the integrity and beauty of sports.”

OFC Vice President and Cook Islands Football Association President, Lee Harmon, said the OFC was committed to protecting football from the threat of match-fixing.

“OFC looks forward to hearing the views of the experts who will present at this conference and hearing the views from all of the participants from our region so that we can work together to tackle this threat,” said Mr Harmon.

“The OFC is committed to protecting the integrity of football competitions in the region and assisting its member associations in implementing effective prevention strategies. I am sure we are all going to benefit from this conference and develop concrete actions that we can implement in our various organisations,” he added.

“The conference is targeted to combat match-fixing and corruption in football. As the world football governing body, FIFA has taken charge of fighting this problem and is working closely with INTERPOL,” said Fiji FA President Rajesh Patel.

“For Fiji Football Association, I believe this is a great initiative and we fully back this campaign. There is no place for fraud and corruption in sports. This workshop will be a vital one for Fiji FA in terms of knowing, fully understanding the situation and acting accordingly when the need arises,” added Mr Patel.

The conference will also demonstrate various match-fixing scenarios and the tools developed by INTERPOL to combat match-fixing and fight corruption in sports, and the importance of training and education.

"Organized crime and criminals view match-fixing as a high-profit low-risk venture. Given their global reach it is essential that all those involved in combating this crime work together, and INTERPOL is committed to supporting these efforts," said Julie Norris of INTERPOL's Integrity in Sport unit.
The 11 countries attending the conference are American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tonga and Vanuatu.