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Volume 6 No. 212
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FA Secretary General Alex Horne Says Match-Fixing Not 'Big Issue' In English Game

FA Secretary General Alex Horne has said match-fixing is not a “big issue” in the English game after he attended a meeting called by the government on corruption in sport, according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Horne joined representatives from five U.K. sports to discuss sharing information about corruption. Culture Secretary Maria Miller called Tuesday’s meeting following the latest allegations, which "led to the arrest of six people on Sunday including the Blackburn Rovers footballer DJ Campbell and other players." A former Portsmouth player "was filmed by the Sun on Sunday newspaper making a number of claims about his ability to fix Premier League games, and matches at next year’s FIFA World Cup." The spate of allegations "may prompt ministers to implement some of the measures proposed nearly four years ago" by a government-commissioned panel into corruption in sport. The panel, led by former Liverpool CEO Rick Parry, "called for the Gambling Commission to create a specialist unit to pool intelligence on suspicious betting activity from sports bodies, the gambling industry and the commission" (FT, 12/10).

A LOT TO LEARN: SKY SPORTS reported Horne has admitted that the game "has a lot to learn from other sports when it comes to combating match-fixing and sport-fixing." Premier League General Secretary Nic Coward, Football League CEO Shaun Harvey, British Horseracing Authority Dir of Integrity, Legal & Risk Adam Brickell and Rugby Football League CEO Nigel Wood "were also at the summit." Horne: "Some of the education programmes put in place by cricket are very far advanced and the integrity unit the BHA have in place is very advanced." Interpol said that football match-fixing "is being investigated in 30 countries across the world, while the Gambling Commission has looked into 30 suspicious betting patterns in the game in the last year" (SKY SPORTS, 12/10).

CALMING FEARS: The PA's Ziegler & Lister reported Horne said after the meeting, "I think the general consensus around the room was this isn't a big issue. The intelligence that we have says this isn't a wide-scale issue at the moment but, again, we don't want to be complacent." The FA "has its own integrity unit and education programmes, but fixing has been an issue for a longer time for horseracing and cricket." Miller said, "There had been a commitment from all the sports to work together. Match-fixing is a real threat to the integrity of sport. If fans don't trust what they see, the integrity of sport will be permanently damaged" (PA, 12/10).

STERN WARNING: In a piece for the London TELEGRAPH, former FIFA Head of Security Chris Eaton wrote, "Sport is now completely international. So is sport betting and so is organised crime, as we have seen in the proliferation of match-fixing scandals across the world." Eaton added, "What is clear is that national police forces cannot compete with globally roaming criminals taking advantage of globally consumed sport which is bet on globally. The time has come for an international approach to the scourge of match-fixing, which I believe is far more insidious and deeply rooted in sport than doping and which has far more potential to damage sport in a very lasting and debilitating way" (TELEGRAPH, 12/9).