Fifa director of security, Ralf Mutschke says match-fixing and corruption in football will only be eradicated through close co-operation between national associations, administrators and law enforcement agents.
From Wellington Toni in Johannesburg, South Africa
While acknowledging the huge task that lies ahead in the total eradication of the “cancer”, the Fifa boss said efforts were being made by all relevant bodies to ensure a round-the-clock watch on suspicious activities in the game.
He was delivering a keynote opening address to delegates attending the first Fifa/Interpol/Cosafa Regional Integrity Workshop that began in Johannesburg yesterday and ends tonight.
“We are on the right track and working together with Interpol, Fifa and law enforcement agents will assist us to make a difference. We must be united to crush the manipulation of matches in football.
“We support you in this initiative and we believe fixers have to be stopped. Globally, the problem of match-fixing and corruption has increased and we have seen it spread rapidly into Africa and especially in the southern part of Africa.”
Zimbabwe has had 99 players and officials suspended after allegations of fixing matches during various trips to Asia between 2006 and 2009. Thirty-three players were cleared while the rest will know their fate when the Justice Ahmed Ebrahim-led independent committee releases its verdict next month.
Botswana and South Africa, during preparations for the 2010 World Cup, were also fingered.
South Africa Football Association president Kirsten Nematandani, in welcoming participants to the two-day seminar, said football had an impact on any country’s economy, hence the need to jealously guard its integrity.
“Match-fixing, age-cheating and illegal betting are cancers which should not be tolerated because they rob the game of its innocence and threaten to undermine the good efforts of honest athletes and administrators.”