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UEFA president Michel Platini has welcomed decisions taken last Thursday by the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body with regard to three European match officials – and has asked the football family for its help in the fight to rid football of corruption.
"I promised strong and positive action against anyone we find in the game guilty of any form of corruption or match-fixing," the UEFA president said on Wednesday. "The announcement that the UEFA disciplinary authorities have recently banned two referees – one for life – are still investigating a third while exonerating a fourth, means that we are now putting into action those words.
"Considerable work is now under way within UEFA to seek out and punish those who are found to be involved in match-fixing and illegal betting – a truly negative phenomenon which poses a real and serious threat to the integrity of our game," he added. "UEFA and the UEFA Executive Committee continue to emphasise that there will be no tolerance shown towards anyone who is guilty of corruption. Recent events now prove this."
The UEFA president called on the football family to join the fight against corruption. "Players and coaches are on our side," he said. "They have to stand up for their own game, as football is their game and their future. The football family can help us. UEFA is their home – and they will find the support they need from UEFA to fight match-fixing."
Mr Platini also spoke about the corruption issue after the recent UEFA Executive Committee meetings in Malta and Madeira, underlining UEFA's hard line on the matter. "On the part of the UEFA Executive Committee, there is zero tolerance," said Mr Platini following the meeting in Malta in late January. "We will use all of our strength to combat all those who corrupt the game. If people know before the match who is going to win, there's no interest, and football would be killed in this way. Sincerely, it's a real problem.
"Any player who is caught will never play football again. Those who corrupt football at refereeing level will never referee again. Anyone who corrupts as a president or coach will never manage or coach again. This is the will of the president and Executive Committee. We cannot treat this lightly."
The determination of UEFA to combat betting irregularities and match-fixing was also made clear after the UEFA Executive Committee meeting in Funchal, Madeira, in December. "If we begin to know the results of matches before the matches take place, we would have to stop," said Mr Platini. "Children would have to stop playing football, people would have to stop going to the stadiums. We are going to deploy every means necessary to combat [those who] cheat."
UEFA has set up a Betting Fraud Detection System which monitors some 29,000 games across Europe, including all UEFA competition fixtures, as well as all first and second division, and national cup matches across its 53 member associations.
"We have established a Betting Fraud Detection System which monitors the betting market all around the world 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year," said UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino after the Executive Committee had been given an appraisal of the system in December. "We will sanction very harshly anyone who is manipulating the result of a match. We have collaborated with police authorities to make sure that these criminal activities are tackled and this cancer is eradicated from the game before it gets too big. It's a challenge, and we are ready."
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