UEFA to investigate match-fixing in football

The football governing body of Europe, UEFA, has revealed that the results of 26 football games may have been influenced by Asian betting syndicates and have passed over information to the police.

The news overshadowed the draw for the Euro 2008 finals in Switzerland and Austria though UEFA confirmed that none of those 26 games were the qualifiers for the competition. Rumours that a qualifying game involving Croatia was under suspicion, possibly handing England a backdoor route into the finals, were swiftly rebuffed by UEFA.

"It is pure fantasy that it involved Croatia. There is no chance of England or Scotland having a back way into the finals,” said UEFA’s director of communications, William Gaillard.

UEFA were alerted to the suspicion of irregular betting patterns by a system they put in place over a year ago.

"UEFA introduced, over one year ago, an early warning system in order to monitor irregular betting activities, and agreed to work together with the appropriate police authorities," UEFA said in a statement.

"In this respect we were informed of some unusual betting patterns in the preliminary rounds of UEFA club competitions. In one case, a second round UEFA Intertoto Cup match, the disciplinary inspector considered the circumstances serious enough to bring the case before the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body,” the statement continued.

"At its meeting on Thursday, Nov 29 it requested further investigations be carried out before taking a final decision. For the avoidance of doubt, there are no investigations under way into any of the qualifying matches for Euro 2008."

Up to 15 of the games were played this season with the remaining eleven played between July 2005 and November 2006. All those games largely included teams from Eastern and Southern Europe.

A UEFA report, handed over to Europol in early November, detailed irregular betting patterns from those games which resulted in millions of euros being pocketed by Asian syndicates.

Michel Platini, president of UEFA, is certainly under no illusions about the gravity of the matter.

"It's a big problem and it could become very bad for football, and for all sport, in the future,” said the French legend.

"We know that in Hong Kong, Singapore or elsewhere in Asia you might you might have a single bet of $10 million on a match ending 4-4. It's coming to the end of the match, it's 2-2 and there are four penalties, and it finishes 4-4.

"We know about these cases because we do have an early-warning system in place."

Editor, Jackpot.co.uk - 2007-12-03 11:15:53

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