Europol probe just the tip of the iceberg

Europol probe just the tip of the iceberg

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
Europol probe just the tip of the iceberg

Europolw chief Rob Wainwright (2L) arrives for a press conference in The Hague, where a report on a betting scheme was unveiled. AFP photo

There are probably more than the 680 suspicious games listed in a Europol report, a senior official of Interpol told daily Hürriyet.

I believe the number will not be limited to 680,” Hürriyet quoted John Abbott, chair of the Interpol Integrity in Sport Steering Group, as saying.

European enforcement agency Europol announced on Feb. 4 a match-fixing probe involving 380 games in Europe and 680 worldwide that were suspected to be part of a vast alleged betting scheme.

Workshop by FIFA, Interpol
The announcement came on the day when a workshop by FIFA and Interpol started in Istanbul, but said the timing was coincidental.

“The date of the workshop was decided three months ago, and it is just a coincidence,” Abbott said, adding that they were already cooperating with FIFA, world football’s governing body, in the fight against match fixing.

It was reported that 79 of the 680 suspicious games were played in Turkey, the highest number in any country.

A day after the statement came, the Turkish Football Federation chairman, Yıldırım Demirören, said that the national football body would cooperate with Interpol and FIFA to solve the match-fixing issue.

According to the process, Europol is to send a detailed report to the Turkish Football Federation after completing its work on the case. The Turkish Football Federation should file an official complaint if it is needed, daily Hürriyet reported. The federation may also write its own disciplinary report as well.

Meanwhile, Hungarian football team Debrecen said yesterday that they had had no contact from Europol in connection with match-fixing allegations surrounding a Champions League match in 2009, according to Agence France-Presse.

The English media claimed that the file included one Champions League game in England, with reports in Denmark and elsewhere saying the match was Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Debrecen at Anfield in 2009.

Europol has not contacted Debrecen
Debrecen goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic was banned by UEFA for two years for failing to report approaches from fixers in 2009 but the charge at the time only specified a tie against Fiorentina. Debrecen confirmed via a statement on Feb. 5 that Poleksic had also been approached before the Liverpool game. A club source told Agence France-Presse yesterday, however, that the club considered the case closed as Poleksic refused the bribes, was cleared by UEFA of match fixing and had served his ban.

“No one from Europol or any other organization has contacted the club in connection with the match-fixing investigation,” the source said.