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FIFA will be watching closely if the bets are unusually high in World Cup matchesImage: AP

FIFA to Keep Close Eye on Betting

DW staff (jdk)
March 27, 2006

FIFA has taken action in response to the match-fixing scandal that broke in German soccer last year. The world soccer body has set up a company whose sole purpose is to watch for suspect betting patterns.


FIFA Early Warning System GmbH might more resemble the name of an anti-terror company. The matter of possible terrorist attacks is not being neglected by anyone involved with the World Cup, but Early Warning System GmbH has another mission -- the prevention of illegal betting operations.

Speaking to reporters on Friday at the conclusion of a four-day workshop for World Cup referee candidates, FIFA's general secretary Urs Linsi said the company was created back in January 2006 as a response to the Robert Hoyzer betting scandal that broke in Germany last year.

Bundesliga 26. Spieltag Bayer Leverkusen gegen 1. FC Kaiserslautern
Leverkusen (red) was possibly at center of manipulation in 2002-03Image: AP

That is not the only scandal that has come to the surface in Germany. State prosecutors are looking into possible manipulations in second and third-division matches. One Munich newspaper published a story it then later retracted that implied international midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger had been interrogated by the Munich police over possible bets.

First-division side Bayer Leverkusen is also at the center of an investigation of possible betting improprieties by prosecutors in Cologne during that club's fight to avoid relegation in the 2002-03 season.

World-wide effort necessary

FIFA is not leaving anything to chance when it comes to gambling and will be keeping a close eye on all betting. Early Warning System will be cooperating with companies that specialize in spotting what could be potential attempts at manipulating games.

Jahresrückblick 2005 Januar Der Schiedsrichter Robert Hoyzer waehrend des DFB-Pokalspiels zwischen dem SC Paderborn und dem Hamburger SV am 21. August 2004 in Paderborn. p178
Robert Hoyzer's involvement in match-fixing started an avalanche in German soccerImage: AP

"I think we've taken the necessary steps to prevent match-fixing. And this is not just for the World Cup," Linsi said.

The Hoyzer scandal was a huge embarrassment to Germany in the long run-up to the World Cup that the country is hosting from June 9 to July 9. Late last year the former referee was found guilty of fixing matches in a betting fraud worth two billion euros ($2.39 bill.).

Hoyzer was sentenced last November to two years and five months for his role in the affair.

Linsi said that he believed that the Hoyzer scandal in Germany was an exception. Match-fixing reaches far beyond Germany's borders. To fight this, FIFA's Executive Committee recently approved a task force report to investigate better preventative measures. One method would be improved cooperation between FIFA confederations and the national associations.

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