INTERPOL and Italian National Police launch inaugural high-level seminar under FIFA grant to fight match-fixing
Italian footballer courage and integrity in rejecting bribe recognized with INTERPOL award
ROME, Italy – Italy’s hosting of the inaugural high-level seminar on sports integrity, for the first time bringing together all stakeholders - law enforcement, sports authorities, players, referees and teams - has been hailed by INTERPOL as a landmark occasion in the global fight against match-fixing and illegal betting in sports.
Organized by the Italian Police and the Italian Football Association, the meeting comes just five months after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with INTERPOL, making Italy the first country to officially endorse the initiative between INTERPOL and FIFA to target match-fixing as well as illegal and irregular betting around the world.
In his speech, INTERPOL President Khoo Boon Hui said the seminar, following so closely after the MoU, was a clear manifestation of Italy’s commitment to fighting corruption in sports and encouraged other countries to follow their lead.
“The cooperation and synergy among the police, sports organizations, regulatory agencies and the community in general is vital. Tackling corruption and establishing integrity in sports must be everybody’s concern,” said President Khoo.
“If we want to continue enjoying the true essence of sports, we need to ensure integrity in sports. We must remain vigilant against all forms of illegal activities, such as doping, cheating, financial corruption and match fixing,” concluded the President.
"The Italian National Police is proud to have hosted the first high-level seminar that brought together all key components of the Italian football community to demonstrate our collective commitment to join INTERPOL and FIFA in fighting match-fixing and corruption in football," said Prefect Antonio Manganelli, the Head of Italian National Police.
INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said that the Rome meeting, held as part of the INTERPOL-FIFA funding agreement, was the strongest signal ever sent by all parties concerned that corruption in football must be stopped, pointing to Italian footballer Simone Farina as a role model in the fight.
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.
In acknowledgement of the footballer’s integrity and the work being done by Italian authorities, Secretary General Noble presented the INTERPOL Commemorative Medal to Giancarlo Abete, President of the Italian Football Federation as part of INTERPOL’s ‘Fund for a Safer World,’ which recognizes those who make an effective contribution to crime prevention and law enforcement at the local, national and global level.
“Simone showed courage and integrity in turning down the bribe and by then going to the police, and equally important was the backing he received from the Italian Football Federation,” said Secretary General Noble.
“I hope that this is first of many awards to individuals and organizations in special recognition of their acts of courage and integrity in combating corruption in football,” added the INTERPOL chief, pointing to the INTERPOL-FIFA Training, Education and Prevention Initiative as a key element in supporting the footballing community in this fight.
INTERPOL will be conducting a series of training workshops which will bring together players, referees, regulators and law enforcement to improve key individuals’ awareness and understanding of corruption in football, of the strategies used by its perpetrators and of the methods to detect and counteract them. The first of four pilot workshops taking place in Finland in April 2012.