In recent years, football in Europe has been confronted with an increasing number of worrying incidents linked to the manipulation of results (referred to as "match-fixing"). This has coincided with a rapid development of the gambling market, particularly in the online environment. Irrespective of whether matches are manipulated for sporting, financial or other reasons, match-fixing jeopardises the integrity of competition and damages the very soul of our sport.
Match-fixing can be closely associated with serious criminal activities, such as corruption, fraud and money laundering, with the resulting profits feeding other criminal networks. It typically transcends national borders, making detection and prosecution particularly challenging. Sports bodies, while committed to eradicating this problem through concrete measures, do not have the legal capacities or investigative powers to tackle the issue by themselves.
UEFA's initiatives to prevent match-fixing related to gambling
UEFA has developed, and finances, a number of initiatives designed to protect the integrity of European football, which are described in more detail in this section. They include in particular:
• Disciplinary regulations: UEFA has enacted disciplinary regulations, applicable to the competitions that it organises, to combat the risk of match-fixing;
• Cases: UEFA is following a strict zero-tolerance policy and serious sanctions (including lifetime bans from football) have been imposed in cases where players, officials or referees were found guilty of breaching these provisions;
• Education: UEFA has established education programmes for players, referees and club coaches to inform, educate and provide them with general advice on the issues surrounding sports betting, including risks they may encounter and ways in which they can report suspicious approaches;
• Integrity officers network: UEFA has created a network of integrity officers in each of the body's 53 national associations, who are liaising with the local law enforcement and are also implementing education and prevention schemes in their respective countries.
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