As a step forward in its education and prevention programme against match-fixing, UEFA is expanding its drive to warn players and officials of the dangers, emphasising its policy of zero tolerance.
UEFA is extending its educational drive to warn players and officials of the dangers of match-fixing by making additional presentations during mini-tournaments in UEFA's youth competitions, which are being staged in 40 countries during 2013/14.
"It's a clear and deliberate step forward in our education and prevention programmes to tackle match-fixing in European football," said Emilio García, UEFA's head of disciplinary and integrity matters. "For the first time, this new policy will offer us the possibility to pass the message about match-fixing to over 4,000 young European players."
For several years, European football's governing body has given presentations highlighting the fight against match-fixing to teams participating in the final tournaments of UEFA youth competitions, as well as to referees and coaches attending UEFA courses.
UEFA now intends to increase the frequency of these presentations with the aim of reaching a larger audience and, in particular, players appearing in UEFA's youth competitions. Consequently, similar prevention presentations to those given at final tournaments will be given to all the teams participating at the mini-tournaments in the qualifying and elite rounds.
The short, easy-to-understand presentations will be made by the host association's integrity officer. One of the roles of the integrity officer is to implement an education programme in their country, and the UEFA youth competition mini-tournament format provides an ideal opportunity to deliver this message directly to the players.
In 2014 alone, 61 mini-tournaments are taking place in 40 member associations. This will allow face-to-face encounters with thousands of young players, both male and female, as well as the accompanying coaches and administrative staff. It is also planned to introduce an e-learning tool to complement this expanded education and prevention programme. The aim of these presentations is to protect players from becoming involved in activities that will put themselves, their families and friends, in danger and potentially end their careers.
The threat caused by match-fixing to both football and to players and match officials has been well documented, and UEFA's zero tolerance policy and commitment to tackling this problem continues to grow in strength. One of the roles undertaken by the UEFA disciplinary and integrity unit is to ensure the integrity of the European competitions. The manipulation of matches is not, and will not be tolerated, and the resulting sanctions imposed by UEFA's independent disciplinary bodies on clubs, players and match officials are severe.
García links this new concept with the resolution on the integrity on the game passed by the UEFA Congress in Astana in March. The resolution adopted by the UEFA member associations is aimed at dealing with match-fixing and corruption through reinforced educational measures and regulatory stipulations, cooperation with domestic law enforcement agencies and the implementation of strong sanctions for any person involved in match-fixing.
"The adoption of the resolution at the UEFA Congress has certainly reinforced our position in this field," UEFA's head of disciplinary and integrity matters added.