Europol launches biggest-ever investigation into suspected match-fixing in Europe
Officials fear revelations from the EU’s law enforcement agency that 680 matches across the world, including a Champions League tie played in England, were fixed is merely the “tip of the iceberg".
Europol on Monday launched the biggest-ever investigation into suspected match-fixing in Europe in which 425 match officials, club officials, players and criminals are suspected of being involved.
They refused to disclose the identity of the match they believe was corrupt in England due to “ongoing judicial proceedings”. However, they did claim an organised crime syndicate based in Asia was behind the operation. Other fixed matches included World Cup and European Championship qualifiers and several top football matches in European leagues.
“It is clear to us this is the biggest-ever investigation into suspected match-fixing in Europe. It has yielded major results which we think have uncovered a big problem for the integrity of football in Europe,” Europol director Rob Wainwright said.
Of all the matches under suspicion, 380 were in Europe with a further 300 in Africa, Asia and South and Central America. So far 50 people have been arrested but officials said they feared this was just the “tip of the iceberg”.
Most cases have been discovered in Germany, where Wainwright revealed $21.7 million was wagered on corrupt matches with the dodgy dealers making $10.85m in profits.
Asked specifically about the allegations surrounding the Champions League tie held in England, Wainwright would only say it occurred in the last three to four years. But he added: “It would be naive and complacent of those in the UK to think such a criminal conspiracy does not involve the English game and all the football in Europe.”
LIFTING THE LID ON MATCH-FIXING
>> Europol’s investigation into match-fixing began 18 months ago. It claims 680 matches across 30 countries were fixed, with 380 in Europe alone.
>> 425 match officials, club officials, players and criminals are suspected of being involved. 50 people have so far been arrested and a number of criminal investigations are now taking place.
>> A crime syndicate based in Asia is believed to be co-ordinating the operation.
>> The matches under suspicion include a Champions League tie played in England, World Cup and European Championship qualifiers and “several top football matches in European leagues”
>> Europol did not reveal the identity of the match in England due to “ongoing judicial proceedings” but did say that it took place in the last three or four years.
>> Most of the cases were discovered in Germany, where criminals wagered $21.7 million on rigged matches with profits of $10.85m believed to have been made.
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