UEFA Calls on Police to Investigate Match Fixing Allegations | Sports | German football and major international sports news | DW | 03.12.2007

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UEFA Calls on Police to Investigate Match Fixing Allegations

UEFA president Michel Platini has confirmed that European soccer's governing body and police are investigating match-fixing in 15 top-level matches.

A goalkeeper watches a ball go into goal

He probably didn't have a chance to stop that shot, but what about some others?

"UEFA introduced, over one year ago, an early warning system in order to monitor irregular betting activities, and agreed to work together with the appropriate police authorities," Europe's international soccer association said in a statement.

Platini added that the organization was investigating 15 games in cooperation with Europol and that the possibility of match-fixing by Asian betting syndicates in top-flight European soccer had also come up in a November conference on violence in sports.

Five UEFA officials visited the Europol headquarters in The Hague in early November to hand over a 96-page dossier outlining suspicions that games were being fixed, according to the magazine.

Strange betting patterns

A betting form held up in front of a socer pitch

UEFA said the scandal did not include Euro 2008 qualifiers

"We need to find striking evidence before we can initiate disciplinary procedures," said William Gaillard, UEFA's director of communications. "Some of these strange patterns may be strange patterns and that's it. Others may have something behind it."

The UEFA report covered a total of 26 games, including three in the third preliminary round of the Champions League, two in the UEFA Cup and one in the qualifiers for Euro 2008. Fifteen of the suspect games were played during the current season with the other 11 between July 2005 and November 2006, Der Spiegel said.

Teams involved came mainly from the Balkans, as well as eastern and southern Europe and betting sums were reported to be in the millions, most of which reportedly flowed to Asian betting syndicates.

Front for money laundering?

Peter Limacher, head of UEFA's disciplinary commission, said there is also a concern that the gambling is being used to launder money.

"When large amounts of money are bet at odds of 1 euro to 1.05 euros" it's not about profits but about getting "clean" money, he told the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Platini told Welt am Sonntag that the UEFA has decided to organize a conference with the EU in 2008 about corruption and money-laundering in the sport.

"I love soccer and we must protect it with everything in our power," he said.

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