Spectre of match-fixing looms over UEFA meet

20 March 2012 02:16

European football chiefs are meeting in Istanbul, with corruption in the background after a series of match-fixing scandals that have rocked the game.

UEFA president Michel Platini, in Turkey for the start of the organisation's two-day executive committee meeting on Tuesday and annual congress on Thursday, met Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday to discuss the problem.

Turkish football has been shaken by a domestic match-fixing scandal that has seen 93 people, including the president of first division giants Fenerbahce, charged with rigging matches in the 2010-11 season.

Platini told AFP in an interview that corruption as a whole was a "scourge" and vowed to crack down on the phenomenon to save the sport's reputation.

"There's always been attempts to win match through 'sportsmanship'. But now it's linked to betting," he said.

"Clubs are facing up to financial losses, players are badly paid or not all and ill-intentioned people exploit that to buy or fix matches. But players know that anyone caught red-handed won't play anymore. It's zero tolerance.

"If you go to see a match and know the result in advance, there's no point in playing anymore."

Also on the agenda this week are new agreements between UEFA and European clubs, including the level of bonuses from the forthcoming Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

Source: AFP