Uefa Investigates Match-fixing Claims

By: Julie Smith

Just seven months before the opening of the Eurocopa 2008 the European football faces a major match-fixing scandal; actually, the UEFA already opened an investigation based on the possibility of fraud by Assian betting syndicates over the European Soccer.

The list of matches go up to 26, fifteen of them took place this season while the other eleven were played between 2005 and 2006. However, the UEFA in cooperation with the Interpol is trying to find enough evidence to be able to initiate disciplinary procedures.

Apparently, the matches include: Champions League qualification matches, UEFA Cup matches, Intertoto Cup ties and one qualifying match for Euro 2008. The governing body of European football believes the attempts to manipulate the results especially involving teams from the Balkans, as well as Eastern and Southern Europe.

This is not the first time the sport of football involves in a match-fixing problem. In fact, two years ago in November 2005, German referee Robert Hoyzer was convicted of manipulation of 23 matches on behalf of a betting ring. Also, on the same year, the Brazilian referee, Edilson Pereira de Carvalho, confessed accepting bribes from gamblers to ensure the final result of games. The Juventus team was also relegated and three more Italian Serie A clubs were hit with massive points deductions after one of the biggest scandals in the European football.

The investigation is on its way, and the Bulgarian Club Cherno More is one of the teams under UEFA's examination after the Intertoto match played against Macedonia's Makedonija. Even though, the Bulgarian club strongly denied any wrongdoing for the mentioned game.

As a responsible governing body, the UEFA has the responsibility of continuously monitor football betting patterns to take disciplinary action in any cases where that may be justified.

Michel Platini, UEFA's president, the match-fixing and the illegal betting "It's a big problem and it could become very bad for football, and for all sports, in the future". Due to the troubles regarding corruption, the UEFA set up an independent company in Zurich, called Early Warning System, which is part of an attempt to reinforce the safety and prevent the matches' outcome from any influence or manipulation.

Moreover, UEFA has decided to organize a conference with the EU in 2008 about corruption and money laundering in the sport. Hopefully, it will be a stepping stone in the prevention of this new "criminal phenomena" which hangs a cloud of doubt on the authenticity of the game results in the football world.

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