European Parliament Told At Least 110 Football Matches Were Fixed Last Year
A "damning report" presented at the European Parliament on Tuesday said that more match-fixing took place in England "than anywhere else this season," according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. Eleven English games "were found to have fallen victim to betting fraud" by Federbet, an organization of top European casino owners and bookmakers which monitors suspicious gambling patterns. That "was more than was identified in any other country, providing a devastating blow to English football’s reputation for integrity." Federbet General Secretary Francesco Baranca warned that the problem was "so widespread that the World Cup itself was under threat from those who had already been corrupted." Baranca: “It is not so impossible that when they have learned to fix the match during the domestic competition they are also going to fix the match in the international competition. We can solve this problem in quite an easy way but nobody wants to solve it" (TELEGRAPH, 6/3). The AFP reported Federbet, which is based in Brussels, said that there were 110 matches that "they believed to be fixed in 2013-2014 in Europe, while there were suspicions about a further 350." The total of 460 possibly fixed matches "was up 20 percent from the previous year." They included matches in Britain, Italy, France and Greece, "as well as many eastern European countries." European lawmaker Marc Tarabella said, "Every day all around the world there is an attempt at match-fixing." Tarabella also "called for a response from sporting and political authorities alike." He said national football federations "often hesitate to back a complaint for fear that it might tarnish their competitions," and called for "harsher penalties" (AFP, 6/3).