Fifa unveils anti-match fixing plan

Fifa has announced a £17.5m plan to crack down on match fixing and illegal betting working alongside Interpol.

The money will be spent on a 10-year anti-corruption programme to educate players, referees and officials.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who is up for re-election, said it was a response to match-fixing in Turkey and the activities of Asian betting syndicates.

"The threat of match-fixing is a major one and we are committed to doing everything to tackle it," he said.

"In the fight against illegal betting and match-fixing, the preventive measures that can be taken and the protection of the players and the integrity of the game are of the utmost importance.

"Joint work with the authorities and with Interpol is crucial for success, and for this reason we are very pleased to announce this contribution."

The money will help create a Fifa anti-corruption training wing based at Interpol's global offices in Singapore.

Fifa believes that fixers with Singapore connections have recently organised international matches purely for betting scams, with Interpol estimating that illegal football gambling is worth hundreds of millions of pounds in Asia alone.

Interpol secretary general Ronald Noble said: "By funding a long-term corruption prevention training programme to be designed and implemented by Interpol... Fifa has taken a significant step towards ensuring the integrity of football worldwide."

Blatter added: "Match-fixing shakes the very foundations of sport, namely fair play, respect and discipline. That's why Fifa employs a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any infringement of these values."

Match fixing has also blighted European football in recent years with Uefa investigating seven games in 2009 involving the Champions League and the Europa League, previously known as the Uefa Cup.

The same year German prosecutors revealed they were probing possible match-fixing at about 200 games.

In 2006, Italian clubs Juventus, Fiorentina, Lazio and AC Milan were all implicated in a match-fixing scandal. Juventus were relegated from Serie A while Fiorentina, Lazio and AC Milan had points deducted.

Fifa president Blatter is aiming to be re-elected for a fourth term in office on 1 June where he will be standing against Asian football president Mohamed Bin Hammam.

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