Thursday 04 April 2024, 06:15

Gianni Infantino says FIFA and Member Associations must fight match-fixing together

  • FIFA President says collective effort must ensure “the playing field remains level”

  • First FIFA Integrity Summit is designed for the integrity officers of FIFA Member Associations

  • Mr Infantino warns participants: “Nobody is immune from this threat”

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has told the first FIFA Integrity Summit that the threat of match manipulation has not gone away and can only be tackled if FIFA and its Member Associations (MAs) join forces and fight it together. The two-day event, which is taking place in Singapore in collaboration with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), is aimed at the integrity officers of the 211 MAs and the six confederations. Its main focus is to update them on global integrity trends, share best practices, present the new FIFA Integrity Handbook and Education Roadmap and explore relevant decisions from FIFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) regarding match manipulation. In a video address played during the opening of the summit, Mr Infantino said that, as a multi-billion dollar industry, football would always be a tempting target for criminal activity.

"We must ensure that the playing field remains level and the game free of malevolent outside influences, because if it doesn't, then the very existence of our beloved sport will be under threat. We have to remain on our guard," he said. As part the effort to ensure integrity, he said that FIFA had signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna, Austria, in 2020, and this was renewed in New York last September. This collaboration led to the Global Integrity Programme, which aims to provide the MAs with the knowledge and tools to prevent and combat match-fixing. A key part of this commitment involves providing education and training to players, referees and integrity officers.

"FIFA is committed to preventing and sanctioning all forms of match manipulations, corruption and other unethical or illegal activities, but we can only do this with your help," Mr Infantino stressed. "FIFA's Member Associations are responsible for combating and tackling match manipulation in their territories and nobody is immune from this threat." During the summit, participants will hear keynote speakers from FIFA, CAS and other professionals involved in combating match manipulation, as well as representatives from other sports. "This summit is a crucial platform for engaging in profound discussions about tackling match manipulation," Mr Infantino added.