IFA, the governing body for world soccer, revealed that Interpol would also be involved following reports that European football was harbouring an organised criminal gang that allegedly made millions by betting in Asian markets on the results of matches they helped to decide. “I have been assured by Interpol, strongly assured, that it will help create an international taskforce against illegal betting in sports and football in particular,' said FIFA President, Sepp Blatter.
In November, police raided addresses across Europe, smashing what they believe was a 200-strong gang that bribed players, referees and coaches in nine countries. The international police organisation revealed that around 200 games played this season in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Austria were under suspicion.
While none of these fixtures were in top-flight European leagues such as England's Premier League or Spain's La Liga, the Union Of European Football Associations (UEFA) revealed that some Champions League qualification matches and Europa League games were subject to further investigation.
“The Executive Committee approved the creation of an international task force to fight against irregular and illegal betting activities in football,” read a statement issued on Wednesday by FIFA.
“President Blatter informed the Committee that Interpol Secretary General Ronald K Noble had assured FIFA of Interpol’s strong support for this task force. The Executive Committee agreed with FIFA’s proposal to unify all football warning systems behind this task force in order to better co-ordinate the fight against these activities and enhance co-operation with Interpol, national authorities and football authorities in this area.”