Wednesday, June 04, 2014

England Had Worst Record For Match-Fixing This Season, Says Betting Firm Federbet

Via The Telegraph:

Umbrella organization reports 10 games in Conference and one in women's Super League were corrupted as number of rigged fixtures across Europe rose sharply.

More match-fixing took place in England than anywhere else this season, according to a damning report presented at the European Parliament on Tuesday.

Eleven English games were found to have fallen victim to betting fraud by Federbet, an organisation 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.

Ten of the fixtures named by Federbet took place in the Conference North and South, the level of the game at which an investigation by the Telegraph last year sparked an ongoing trial in which several players are accused of corruption.

The other was a Women’s Super League game, Notts County v Everton on April 20, the first time women’s football has been publicly implicated in match-fixing.

Two League of Wales games were also identified as having been corrupted, taking the UK’s total of "fixed" matches to 13.

Federbet, which is based in Brussels, accused football’s authorities of failing to do enough to tackle match-fixing after finding the number of rigged fixtures across Europe rose sharply in 2013-14.

Including several Champions League and Europa League ties, 110 matches were identified as having been fixed, with suspicions over a further 350.

The total of 460 possibly-fixed matches was up 20 percent from the previous year, Federbet said.

Its general secretary, Francesco Baranca, added: "Every day, all around the world, there are attempts at match-fixing. And this virus is getting bigger and bigger".

The red-flagged Champions League and Europa League ties were all from the qualifying rounds, with the highest-profile match rigged found to be Catania v Atalanta in Serie A.

Other matches in Italy were also identified, as well as several in France, Portugal, Greece, and Ukraine.

Hammarby, Elfsborg, Helsingborg, and Halmstad, are the Swedish teams that figured in matches where the results are suspected to have been rigged.

Elfsborg, Hammarby, Helsingborg, and Halmstad, have all been identified as participants in matches where the results are suspected to have been rigged.

The worst is the situation for Hammarby, which was pointed out on three separate occasions.

The team's friendlies against Armenian FC Mika, Sirius, and TPS Turku should all be investigated according to the report.

We have friendlies organized solely to get to a fixed match.

This involves Czech, Bulgarian, Swedish, Finnish, and Latvian games.

If we are not strong enough to stop this virus, the virus will eat up football, says Federbets Secretary General Francesco Baranca at the press conference according to FotbollDirekt.

Hammarby's sporting director Mats Jingblad knew of suspicions that the friendly against FC Mika on Cyprus, which ended 4-4, may have been known to be arranged already shortly after it was played.

"There is a little rumor about it. There has been a lot of talk about it. That was some funny business. We heard that there would be more than five or six goals goals in the game, so yes, it is not unlikely".

Baranca warned that the problem is so widespread that the World Cup itself is under threat from those who had already been corrupted.

"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", he said.

"We can solve this problem in quite an easy way but nobody wants to solve it. Federations are not listening to us, Uefa is not listening to us".

European lawmaker Marc Tarabella, who backed the report, called for a response from sporting and political authorities alike.

He claimed that national football federations "often hesitate to back a complaint for fear that it might tarnish their competitions", and called for harsher penalties.

Tarabella said Fifa had "heard the arguments of the European parliament and will have throughout the next World Cup strict controls in finances around each match".

The Federbet report was published a week after the Telegraph revealed the National Crime Agency had asked Fifa to issue an alert over Nigeria’s World Cup warm-up friendly against Scotland in London.

A Nigerian football agent was subsequently caught on camera claiming he could arrange yellow cards and penalties in his country’s matches in Brazil for a fee of up to £81.000.

In November, the Telegraph exposed the biggest alleged match-fixing scandal in England for decades, helping prompt the then Culture Secretary to call an emergency meeting of the country’s sporting bodies.

Prior to that, English football had been considered by some to have become largely immune from fixing due to the spiralling wages paid to players in the Premier League era.

But recent scandals have acted as wake-up call that it is as vulnerable as anywhere.

The World Cup, meanwhile, promises to be the most scrutinised tournament in history when it comes to suspicious betting activity.

Fifa, which is still dealing with the fallout from warm-up games that were allegedly rigged prior to the 2010 tournament in South Africa, will also deliver mandatory integrity sessions to all 32 competing teams in Brazil.

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