Fiji Football president Rajesh Patel. Photo: SHALENDRA PRASAD.?
NADI, Fiji ? Raising awareness and understanding of the threat to football posed by match-fixing is the focus of an INTERPOL Integrity in Sport-FIFA conference co-hosted by the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), the Fiji Football Association and the Fiji Police.
The two-day meeting (26 and 27 February) brings together nearly 100 regional football administrators, players? associations, referees, football club owners, government agencies and police officials from 11 countries across the region.
Identifying the strategies used by match-fixers, the methods used to recognize, resist and report them and sharing best practice in protecting the integrity of sport are among the topics to be addressed in addition to the importance of information collection and sharing.
Delivering the keynote address, Fijian Minister for Youth and Sports, Vilame Naupoto said; ?The relevant sports stakeholders here in Fiji are looking forward to the outcome and recommendations of this conference, and will certainly use them to put in place or enhance existing mechanisms that are more effective in fighting against this threat and help maintain and preserve the integrity and beauty of sports.?
OFC Vice President and Cook Islands Football Association President, Lee Harmon, said the OFC was committed to protecting football from the threat of match-fixing.
?OFC looks forward to hearing the views of the experts who will present at this conference? and hearing the views from all of the participants from our region so that we can work together to tackle this threat.
?The OFC is committed to protecting the Integrity of football competitions in the region and assisting its member associations to implement effective prevention strategies. I am sure we are all going to benefit from this conference and develop concrete actions that we can implement in our various organisations,? Mr Harmon said.
?The conference is targeted to combat match fixing and corruption in football. As the world football governing body, FIFA has taken charge of fighting against this problem and are working closely with INTERPOL,? said Fiji FA President Rajesh Patel.
?For Fiji Football Association, I believe this is a great initiative and we fully back this campaign.? There is no place for fraud and corruption in sports. This workshop will be a vital one for Fiji FA in terms of knowing, fully understanding the situation and acting accordingly when the need arises,? added Mr Patel.
The conference will also demonstrate various match-fixing scenarios and the tools developed by INTERPOL to combat match-fixing and fight corruption in sports, and the importance of training and education.? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ??
“Organized crime and criminals view match-fixing as a high-profit low-risk venture. Given their global reach it is essential that all those involved in combating this crime work together, and INTERPOL is committed to supporting these efforts,” said Julie Norris of INTERPOL’s Integrity in Sport unit.