With two weeks left before the football event of the year, FIFA is expected to launch its biggest operation to combat match fixing.
The 20th FIFA World Cup is getting everyone excited, especially those who like to bet on sports in UK. This is precisely why FIFA is gearing up for its biggest battle against sports corruption. A formal Interpol chief is warning that illegal betting syndicates will not stay away from the major championship, despite the fact that authorities will be watching closely.
According to recent gambling news, FIFA’s security director admitted that “dead rubbers” toward the end of the group stages are among the most vulnerable. However, officials are confident that the steps taken to combat corruption will be enough to ensure the integrity of the competition.
Illegal, but tempting
The recent match-fixing scandals have convinced FIFA to take serious anti-corruption measures for this year’s World Cup. But Khoo Boon Hui, a former Interpol president, doesn’t believe this will keep “fixers” away. Experts say we can expect illegal betting syndicates to attempt to rig games and offer huge bribes, to match the importance of the occasion.
“Why should they be worried about fixing World Cup matches? Maybe the costs will be higher because the players get paid more and more. So you have to risk bribe money being higher,” Khoo told reporters.
A research conducted by the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) and Paris Sorbonne University found that match-fixing is most common in football and cricket. According to the study, around GBP 84 billion was laundered through betting, 80% of it via illegal channels.
Ralf Mutschke, director of security at FIFA, admitted that an event of this magnitude would be very tempting for fixers, especially the matches happening towards the end of the group stages, when a team’s place in the next round is no longer an issue.
ICSS calls for stronger sanctions
According to Mutschke, FIFA will be running each match through a risk management system. The body will also monitor betting markets, to check for irregularities. With such measures in place, officials are confident there will be no incidents.
ICSS director of sports integrity Chris Eaton, who is a former detective, believes that the threat of corruption is “higher today than it ever has been”. The ICSS representative says better policies and stronger sanctions are the solution.
“FIFA have done a lot of work but they are not the solution. The cause of match fixing is betting fraud and the people who organize both are serious criminals. These problems are for governments, not sport, to solve,” Eaton said.
“International sport does not care enough and does not find its voice on match- fixing until it hurts image or income, and even then responses are usually calls for soft solutions, such as education and betting monitoring,” he added.
Fans: avoid unofficial websites!
It’s not just illegal betting fans have to keep an eye out for. Football officials have warned thousands of counterfeit World Cup tickets are being sold via the Internet, on unofficial websites. More than 2,000 tickets worth nearly GBP 226,000 are being sold online.
2014 FIFA World Cup
The championship starts June 12 at 5 pm, when Brazil will be playing against Croatia.
Here are the matches scheduled for June 13:
•Mexico – Cameroon (1 pm)
•Spain – Netherlands (4 pm)
•Chile – Australia (6 pm)
However, the body’s transfer and resale policy states that all unwanted tickets have to be sold back to FIFA, and then resold via the official website. So buying them here is the only way you can avoid travelling to Brazil at a huge cost, only to be turned away from the stadium because you have a counterfeit ticket.
“FIFA cancels tickets discovered as illegally sold or resold. The bearers risk not being permitted entry into World Cup matches,” marketing director Thierry Weil said.
So whether you’re looking to buy tickets or place a wager, make sure you do it through trusted websites and licensed online or mobile betting operators.