FIFA is conducting investigations, launching a $20 million training initiative with Interpol and banning some referees for it. But FIFA’s head of security, Chris Eaton, spoke to InsideWorldFootball about his proposal for another way to combat match-fixing: establish a bounty program for informants.
“The idea is to establish a monetary rewards program and an amnesty–both for a specific period of time–for players, referees and administrators who have been unfairly compromised,” he told the website.
Eaton said he hopes FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter will take up the idea as part of an anti-corruption drive launched in the wake of his June 1 reelection. FIFA has been fighting a myriad of corruption scandals over the past year, culminating with the lifetime ban of Mohamed Bin Hammam, the former head of Asian soccer. He’s appealing it.
Eaton didn’t say how much money would be paid out under the program, but he said payouts would be based on the quality of the information provided.
The amnesty, however, would not cover a criminal investigation or prosecution, he said. “That is a matter for governments and national police, not FIFA. Principally, people who could benefit from a FIFA amnesty are players, officials or administrators who have been caught in an uncompromising situation that they wish to free themselves from,” Eaton said.
Match-fixing scandals have engulfed soccer federations all over the world, from South Korea to Turkey to Germany. The German investigation is linked to a wider European match-fixing probe that could have affected 300 matches across 15 countries.
“Ultimately, the goal is to minimize if not completely eradicate match-fixing,” Eaton said.
Declan Hill, an expert on match fixing, took to his blog to slam FIFA’s match-fixing investigations as a “public relations campaign.” He wrote that Eaton is “saying all the right things to the press,” for which Hill gave him credit. But because Eaton has a paltry budget and because FIFA has little to no credibility on policing corruption among its members, Hill doesn’t believe that the body will do much of anything to curb the problem.
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