EU law enforcement agency working with governing body to address corruption
The European Union’s law enforcement agency (Europol) and UEFA have joined forces to explore ways of cooperating in cases related to sport-related corruption and match-fixing.
UEFA said a total of 109 senior officials from law enforcement, judicial authorities and national football associations from 49 countries attended a joint Europol-UEFA conference at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands.
At the conference, expert panels analysed the most “pressing current and future threats to protecting the integrity of football and fighting organised crime groups”, a UEFA statement said.
They discussed topics such as operational collaboration between law enforcement bodies and football Integrity officers, and the early detection of suspicious betting patterns.
Prevention was also high on the agenda with discussions focusing on new recently adopted legal frameworks and existing tools designed to prevent match-fixing and facilitate information sharing.
“Organised crime quickly understood that a lot of football clubs were suffering financially as a consequence of Covid-19. And where there is less money, players, coaches, officials and even club executives are increasingly vulnerable to being corrupted by fixers,” said Burkhard Mühl, head of Europol’s European Financial and Economic Crime Centre (EFECC).
“What with the huge profits associated with ‘making the unpredictable predictable’, we are seeing more and more cases of match-fixing and suspicious results – cooperation between law enforcement and sports organisations is vital to not only detect and investigate suspected corruption in football, but also to stop such fraudulent activities before they can even begin.”