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U19s told of match-fixing dangers

Published: Tuesday 22 July 2014, 14.55CET
UEFA has warned youngsters at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Hungary of the dangers of match-fixing, as part of its continuing education drive.
by Andrew Haslam
from Budapest
U19s told of match-fixing dangers
A match-fixing prevention session at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship ©Sportsfile

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The UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) has taken the following decisions: Match: UEFA Champions League group D, RSC Anderlecht vs Galatasaray AŞ (2-0), played on 26 November in Belgium. RSC Anderlecht: Charges: Throwing of objects - Art. 16 (2) (b) of UEFA Disciplinary Regulations; Insufficient organisation (stairs blocked) – Art. 38 of UEFA Safety & Security Regulations; Setting off of fireworks – Art. 16 (2) (c) DR Sanctions: The UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body has ordered the partial closure of the RSC Anderlecht stadium during next (1) UEFA competition match in which RSC Anderlecht will play as the host club, and, in particular the sector N3 of the stadium. The club has also been fined €17,000. --- Match: European Qualifier group H,  Italy vs Croatia (1-1), played on 16 November in Milan: Italy: Charges: Setting off of fireworks (Article 16 (2) (c) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations); Sanctions: The Italian Football Federation has been fined €13,000. Croatia: Charges: Racist behaviour (Article 14 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations); crowd disturbances (Article 16 (2) (h) DR); setting off of fireworks and missiles (Article 16 (2) (b) & (c) DR Sanctions: The UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body has ordered the partial closure of the stadium during Croatia’s next (1) UEFA competition match in which Croatia will play as the host association. The sector to be closed should comprise of at least 8,000 seats. The Croatian Football Federation has been fined €80,000

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Published: Tuesday 22 July 2014, 14.55CET

U19s told of match-fixing dangers

UEFA has warned youngsters at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Hungary of the dangers of match-fixing, as part of its continuing education drive.

UEFA's ongoing work to prevent match-fixing has continued with presentations to the eight teams at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Hungary.

The sessions, a key and long-standing element of UEFA's work at its youth tournaments, were conducted by UEFA Appeals Body member Michel Wuilleret under the banner headline of 'What you need to know about match-fixing, because we want to protect you.' Wuilleret wasted little time getting to the heart of the matter, telling his audience: "Match-fixing is a crime."

The presentation began with a video asking: 'Why watch a match if everything is decided in advance?' "Match-fixing concerns every country – it's everywhere," added Wuilleret, who provided the most recent examples from UEFA competition. "It's not just the UEFA Champions League, or the UEFA Europa League, or men's matches, or women's, or youth. It affects all competitions."

There followed a detailed explanation of how match-fixing is detected via the monitoring of betting patterns, and a dissection of the gambling industry. With 70% of betting coming from the Asian markets, and more than €750bn wagered on sports each year – €400bn of which goes on football, including, in 2013, €1bn on the UEFA Champions League final – the size of the industry is clear.

"This is an issue for every federation, from the very biggest to the very smallest," Wuilleret added. "Betting on football interests people who are honest, and some who are not. Match-fixing destroys the integrity and credibility of sport – and its athletes, referees, coaches, clubs and federations."

There is a distinction between sport-related match-fixing – two clubs conspiring to arrange the result of a match for their own ends – and betting-related match-fixing, which involves teams losing by a certain scoreline, by multiple goals, losing but scoring a goal and so on.

Wuilleret explained how people can become involved: through the building of relationships, the search for vulnerabilities, favours owed, minor performance errors, threats and bribes leading on to the coercion to make major performance errors. "By then, you're just another match-fixer to them," he said.

With illustrative examples from UEFA's betting fraud detection system, the presentation moved on to arguably the most relevant area for players and coaches – the sanctions. "You can be sanctioned if you're involved directly, or indirectly, in matches that have been fixed," Wuilleret explained. "You can also be sanctioned if you're approached to take part in match-fixing and don't report it."

The consequences are severe and take several forms. On a legal front, players face a life ban, prison and potential action from clubs and federations to recoup wages and transfer fees. From a personal and private point of view, they throw away a promising career, become a national disgrace and cause immeasurable stress and pain for their families. Financially, they lose a very good salary, face hefty legal costs and could be sued for damages.

"UEFA has a simple message for players, referees and coaches," Wuilleret concluded. "If someone asks you to manipulate a match, you need to recognise, reject and report. Don't get involved in organised crime; inform UEFA and your federation if you're approached. This isn't to make you afraid. It's to protect you, and to protect football."

Last updated: 23/07/14 2.12CET

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