Malta Football Association
Apr 16, 2013
Posted in:

The need to effectively address at the highest level the scourge of corruption in sport has long been felt. Match-fixing, fraud, illicit gambling and other sinister practices have been in the forefront of organised crime for quite some time.



Several efforts by sports organisations have been made to combat these malpractices. UEFA has been the avant garde in this respect.


However, a concerted and comprehensive offensive against this malaise had to be in unison with the very highest authorities, including the national police, the judicial authorities and above board gambling operators. This had to be done in conjunction with EU institutions.


As a result the European Parliament was called into action by adopting a resolution which calls for a common and unified approach by all stakeholders towards combatting match-fixing in football and other sports.


The EU parliament has advocated co-ordinated action to eradicate what UEFA considers to be the cancer of match-fixing since this is one of the main dangers to football’s well-being.


UEFA adopts a zero tolerance policy towards all forms of fraudulent practices that lead to match-fixing. This is in line with one of the motions adopted in the latest European Parliament resolution.


The European football’s governing body is very pro-active in this sense as can be seen by several initiatives to address these malpractices.


One of these is the Betting Fraud Detection System (BFDS) which monitors all matches (approximately 2000) in UEFA competitions every season as well as over 30,000 domestic league and cup games across the 53 member associations.


The European governing body has also pressed for widespread co-operation between sports and state bodies to root out match-fixing from football. Integrity officers have been deployed within its 53 member associations who are working against match-fixing at domestic level and collaborating with UEFA on any integrity matter which arises regarding matches or teams participating in UEFA competitions.     


The MFA’s Integrity Officer, Franz Tabone, has been assiduously engaged in these operations. Referring to the EU resolution he said that this has long been overdue, stressing that the discussion stage needs to be speeded up otherwise criminal activity gains further momentum.


He said that the MFA has suggested and offered its assistance for specialised law enforcement to tackle match-fixing, while educational programmes are also in the pipeline and are due to start next season.


The European Parliament resolution calls on the EU member states to include match-fixing in their national criminal law and establish minimum sanctions to set up law enforcement units to tackle this malpractice.


The European Commission and the EU member states have also been urged to initiate co-operation with third countries (non EU members) to fight organised crime.


Finally the resolution lays stress on the importance for sports organisations to educate athletes and the public from a young age on the pitfalls of match-fixing – something which the MFA has already taken up - and recommends codes of conduct to be drawn up for all stakeholders in sports.

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