Interpol-AIFF workshop on match fixing perils

New Delhi, June 7 (IANS) When Indian cricket is reeling under corruption, the Interpol has offered to conduct a workshop for football players and match officials on the perils of match fixing and betting.

The Interpol officials approached All India Football Federation (AIFF) secretary Kushal Das during the FIFA Congress in the Mauritius with the offer to hold the Interpol-FIFA sports integrity workshop for I-League players, match officials and administrators.

In 2011, Interpol had inked a 10-year agreement, worth $20 million, with the world soccer body to put in place an anti-corruption mechanism.

“Concerned at widespread match fixing in Indian cricket, Interpol officials came up with the idea of a clinic in December and Das promptly accepted the offer,” a senior AIFF official told IANS not wanting to be named.

“FIFA is concerned with the rising number of match fixing cases worldwide and is determined put an end to it, first by educating players and officials. The agreement with Interpol is essentially to crack match fixing and betting rings around the world,” the official added.

Interpol’s offer comes close on the heels of the suspension of two Lebanese match officials by the Asian Football Confederations (AFC) and their arrest in Singapore ahead of East Bengal’s AFC Cup match against Tampines Rovers in April.

FIFA-recognised referee Ali Sabbagh and assistant referees Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb were arrested hours before the match on charges of accepting sexual favours in return for fixing the match.

Interpol tie-up with FIFA is to develop and implement a global training, education and prevention programme with the focus on regular and irregular betting as well as match-fixing.

Thus the Interpol has launched a dedicated Integrity in Sport unit to develop and implement a training module which will form the basis for the creation of a training wing in the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore.

The first such Integrity workshop was held in Finland in April last year and it was attended by players, referees, betting regulators and law enforcement officials. The workshop was aimed at improving awareness and understanding the dangers of corruption, the strategies used by its perpetrators and the methods to recognize, resist and report them.

Finland is the first country to crack down on football match fixing. They unearthed a global match fixing racket in 2011 with the arrest of Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, who is the world’s most prolific criminal fixer of matches. After spending a year in Finnish prison, Perumal has been handed over to Hungary, where too he is jailed.

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