An inquiry that began 18 months ago, diving into the belly of the beast, aka match fixing in European football, has revealed some ugly facts, which include a Champions League match; other corrupt matches included World Cup and European Championship qualifiers and several top football matches in European leagues.
Yes, this is no longer something about lower leagues which is easier to glance over. The Champions League, a match in England of all places, hardly ever brought up when it comes to match-fixing.
This is the work of a suspected organised crime syndicate based in Asia and operated with criminal networks around Europe. t 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. We have uncovered an extensive criminal network.
The focus has been on other countries, not the United Kingdom. However we were surprised by the scale generally of the criminal enterprise and just how widespread it was. 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.
Europol have been investigating these cases for 18 months, looking into 680 matches in 30 countries. 425 match officials, club officials, players and criminals are suspected of being involved. 50 People have been arrested. A number of criminal investigations now taking place. News can’t be any worst.
In Germany-based matches alone, criminals wagered £13.8 million on rigged matches and made £6.9 million in profits. Officials fear this is as the “tip of the iceberg”; in total 380 suspicious matches were in Europe and a further 300 in Africa, Asia and south and central America. payments of £1.73 million are thought to have been paid to those involved. the biggest payment to an individual was in Austria for a total of £121,000.
According to Europol, a crime syndicate based in Singapore was liaising with criminal networks throughout Europe. German police described a global network involving couriers ferrying bribes of up to £86,000 per match around the world, paying off players and referees. Most cases have been discovered in Germany where 14 people have been jailed for a total of 39 years. Criminal convictions have also been secured in Finland, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria.