UEFA has warned the young players at the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship of the dangers of match-fixing, urging them to stay clear of this scourge on the game.
Educational sessions held at each UEFA youth final tournament are designed to put over UEFA's key message that match-fixing must be eliminated from football. At the UEFA European Women’s Under-17 Championship final tournament in Nyon, the European governing body told the four teams about the fight against match-fixing and corruption – and urged the young players never to become involved in this scourge on the game.
UEFA intelligence officer Graham Peaker told the delegations from Belgium, Poland, Spain and Sweden that match-fixing was "cheating to lose", and explained how UEFA was working diligently to combat match-fixing.
"UEFA has a zero tolerance policy on match-fixing," Peaker told the audience. "This means that if we identify anybody that has been involved – a player, a referee or a club – they will be kicked out of the game. They will get a red card from football."
UEFA, said Peaker, had certain values – all matches were to be played in a spirit of fairness and respect, with the outcome solely determined on the qualities of the competing teams. "The result of the match should remain uncertain until the final whistle," Peaker added.
"The match-fixers can make millions of Euros – they come from very powerful criminal groups, and financial reward is their only interest. The money they use comes from, among other things, drug deals, sales of weapons, human trafficking and theft." UEFA's view is that one fixed match is one match too many, and has made the fight against this negative phenomenon a number-one priority.
Peaker said that UEFA had set up a betting fraud detection system in which approximately 30,000 domestic league and cup matches and UEFA matches throughout Europe are monitored for irregular betting patterns each year. "Match-fixing is manipulation of the result of a match," he explained. "Who is going to win, who is going to lose, or how many goals are going to be scored. It’s persuading a team, certain players to lose a match."
The young footballers were warned that they might be approached at some stage in their career to manipulate a game. "These are people who have no interest in football," Peaker emphasised. "They are only concerned with how much money they can make. They are dangerous people from organised crime circles, they have no respect for human lives - if you allow them to become involved with you, they will not go away – they will follow you on social networks, and they could start threatening and pressuring your family and friends."
"You are top young players and we want to protect you," Peaker told the youngsters. "If you are approached to fix a match, please tell somebody – your national association, your club or UEFA. Match-fixing is a threat to the integrity of football, and if we do not act now, it will become an even bigger cancer."