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Home » Sport » Football

Fifa may protect whistle-blowers

Match-fixers beware, Fifa has radical plans to fix you.

Fifa's head of security, Mr Chris Eaton, said that football's world governing body is considering plans to offer rewards, amnesty and protection for whistle-blowers.

The proposal will be presented to Fifa bosses at the end of the year. If approved, the initiatives will be implemented next year.

He deemed 2012 to be a year "dedicated to eradicating vulnerabilities to match-fixing... and identifying the criminals involved in fixing matches".

In an exclusive interview with The New Paper, MrEaton noted that the proposal, if implemented, "would be the first time that Fifa has engaged in programmes of this nature that would be applied to the entirety of the organisation".

The 59-year-old said the proposal to eradicate the match-fixing malaise will have a four-pronged approach.

It will include "a reporting and rewards programme for information on match-fixers and an amnesty for a player, official or administrator to come forward with information".

The whistle-blower protection programme will help those who come forward with information, and a rehabilitation programme will help players or officials who have been unfairly compromised or intimidated by criminals.

He noted that the ideas behind this proposed initiative were generated from the approaches of organisations such as Transparency International and other national anti-corruption efforts.

The former Interpol official added: "Given the... depth of allegations concerning match-fixing, and the deeply-seated perception of vulnerability, innovative action such as this would be needed to restore public confidence in the efficacy of the sport and its administration."

Match-fixing has come under the spotlight in the past 12 months, with many cases being reported across the globe.

The chairman of Turkish league champions Fenerbahce is under investigation for rigging matches, while in South Korea, 10 players have been banned for life and lie-detector tests were implemented after the K-League was tarnished by widespread corruption.

Singapore has been heavily linked with global match-fixing operations, with Wilson Raj Perumal sentenced to two years' jail in Finland last month and Rajendran Kurusamy facing trial for match-fixing inMalaysia.

Singaporeans Anthony Santia Raj and Gaye Alassane have also been implicated in allegedly compromised matches in Europe and Central America.

Mr Eaton told TNP in April that Singapore was home to "an academy of match-fixers".

Identification

On the four-pronged proposal, the Australian said: "It will work by firstly offering a reward for information that materially assists Fifa to identify those behind match-fixing and/or any player, official or football administrator who is compromised by them.

"The rewards and reporting programme would be publicly publicised, information received would be assessed and actions taken as necessary, including passing information on to relevant police and law enforcement agencies.

"Any reward would be subject to the outcome and accuracy of the information."

However, Mr Eaton noted that any amnesty offered by Fifa did not extend to criminal investigations on match-fixing conducted by the authorities of individual nations.

He said: "Fifa can only offer an amnesty from internal Fifa administrative action, such as through our Discipline and Ethics Committees.

"We are not suggesting an amnesty from criminal investigation or prosecution. That is a matter for governments and national police, not Fifa.

"Principally, people who could benefit from a Fifa amnesty are players, officials or administrators who may have been caught up in an uncompromising situation that they wish to free themselves from."

In addition to the four-pronged approach, Fifa will be introducing several other programmes to combat match-fixing.

From next January, Fifa plans to open temporary regional security offices and task forces in Asia and Latin America.

Fifa and Interpol have also agreed that the international policing authority will manage an anti-corruption prevention, training and education programme for players, officials and administrators.

"Principally, people who could benefit from a Fifa amnesty are players, officials or administrators who may have been caught up in an uncompromising situation that they wish to free themselves from."

 

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