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FIFA vows tough action on match-fixing in soccer

January 11, 2012 -- Updated 0931 GMT (1731 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • FIFA's head of security tells CNN soccer's match-fixing market is growing
  • Chris Eaton says fixing is fueled by illegal gambling market of around $1 trillion
  • FIFA has announced a raft of measures to help tackle the global problem
  • Eaton says governments must work together with FIFA to stamp out fixing

(CNN) -- FIFA's head of security has told CNN that match-fixing in soccer is fueled by an illegal gambling market of up to $1 trillion and says governments must work together to stamp out the problem.

Chris Eaton, a former head of international crime agency Interpol, has been tasked by world football's governing body with breaking up a lucrative underground industry.

The Australian says the amount of money involved in modern day soccer has alerted criminal gangs to the possibility of making vast sums by trying to influence the outcome of top level matches.

"We're talking about international, transcontinental, organized crime taking advantage of the enormous pot of money available in global gambling," he told CNN's Pedro Pinto.

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"Most of this is in the illegal gambling market out of Southeast Asia. Estimates vary from between $500 billion to $1 trillion so we're talking about money that attracts organized crime of course because this is digital money or cash."

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FIFA announced Tuesday it would appeal to Interpol to help the fight against match fixing, establish an amnesty for those who provide relevant information and send officials to Asia, the Americas and the Middle East to try to fix the problem.

It also released a document sent by Wilson Raj Perumal, a Singapore-based in London who specialized in match-fixing, instructing an unspecified national team to concede two goals in each half for a reward of $100,000.

He is currently serving a two-year prison sentence.

This is criminally planned sports result manipulation and it needs the collective commitment of governments
Chris Eaton, FIFA head of security

Eaton said FIFA must send a clear message in 2012 that it will prosecute those who take part in fixing.

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"We need to set a baseline of behavior where players, referees and administrators understand that if you cross that line, FIFA will take action against you and you will not be involved in football again," he said.

"This is not ad-hoc opportunistic match fixing, this is criminally-planned sports results manipulation and it needs the collective commitment of governments."

Eaton said there have been no specific allegations relating to major European competitions such as the English Premier League, but he warned the reach of some of the gangs cannot be underestimated.

"We cannot say simply because a particular league is the wealthiest or most watched in the world that it is immune from criminal infiltration," he said.

"Nothing is immune. We have credible allegations about major regional competitions and international friendlies. These are high-level matches by anyone's imagination."

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