Inside a nondescript office building in central London, a roomful of men and women sit at computer screens and talk over Skype with people in faraway places. Sharp-edged Cantonese fills the air, and a flat-screen TV emits a continuous din. It’s the chanting, singing Midlands crowd at Birmingham, England’s Villa Park Stadium: Liverpool at Aston Villa. The match has just kicked off.
Soccer’s governing body increased the risk of World Cup referees being approached with bribes by naming the officials five months before this year’s event in Brazil, FIFA’s former head of security said.
Soccer match-fixing by criminal gangs can only be prevented by police agencies using joint intelligence gathering similar to that in the fight against global terrorism after the Sept. 11 attacks, FIFA’s head of security said.
Criminal gangs are probably increasing their attempts to fix soccer matches because new measures will make the crime more difficult to commit, said the man hired by FIFA to lead the battle against the manipulators.
Organized criminals may have made as much as 2 billion euros ($2.75 billion) from fixing Italian soccer matches over the past six years, according to the head of security at the sport’s governing body, FIFA.
Two former soccer officials who claimed Bayern Munich was probed for allegedly being paid to lose a 2008 UEFA Cup semifinal against the competition’s eventual winner Zenit St. Petersburg were convicted of slander.