Match-fixing: Ex-Fifa security chief wants global intelligence body

Football

Football needs a global body to deal with match-fixing because the game is in "crisis", according to Fifa's former head of security Chris Eaton.

Police in Singapore have arrested 14 people said to be part of a gang involved in global football match-fixing, including the alleged leader.

Officials said 680 suspect games have been identified between 2008 and 2011.

Eaton said a "global intelligence system" would see information shared more easily and action taken quicker.

In February, European police agency Europol said that hundreds of games worldwide, including those in the Champions League and World Cup qualifiers, had been linked to a match-fixing syndicated.

And a month later, the Football Association contacted all 22 Conference South clubs after concerns over suspicious betting patterns in the division.

"Football is in crisis, undoubtedly in lower leagues," Eaton told BBC Sport. "It doesn't mean it will always be in the lower leagues or that it is not going to return to international friendlies or competitions."

This month, Singapore and Australian police - in two separate investigations - have made arrests relating to match-fixing.

In the Singapore investigation, it is understood that Singaporean businessman Dan Tan, the alleged global match-fixer at the head of the gang, is one of those who has been arrested.

However, while Eaton, who is now chief executive of the International Centre for Sports Security, believes the arrests in Singapore and Australia are "very significant", he says there is more to do.

"It is a strong message sent to criminal organisations who are operating in this field," he said.

"It is very important because up until now, we've focused on players and match-fixers. But the real people who need to be caught are the people who are organising the betting fraud."

He argued a global intelligence system would enable "sport, bookmakers, sport betting regulators and police around the world to collectively get together and share information for these timely operations".

"Sport can't wait for these two or three-year investigations that Europe is common for," he added.

In relation to the arrests in Singapore, a Fifa spokesman said: "We are aware of the matter and will continue to monitor the situation. As the matter is ongoing, please understand we are not in a position to provide any further comment.

"Speaking generally, we welcome all actions taken by law enforcement bodies to bring the perpetrators of match manipulation to justice."

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