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Top sports officials attend meeting over fixing

December 10, 2013

LONDON (AP) — Top officials from Britain’s leading sports met with government ministers on Tuesday to discuss measures to tackle corruption in the wake of two fixing investigations that have struck English football over the last two weeks.

Representatives of football, cricket, tennis, horse racing and the two rugby codes were invited to attend a hastily convened meeting in central London.

Alex Horne, the general secretary of the English Football Association, said the “general consensus around the room” was that fixing “isn’t a big issue” in Britain at present.

“But, again, we don’t want to be complacent,” Horne said. “It’s clear that, as Britain, we are very proud of our sporting product, of the sport that we play in this country and we all want to do all we can to protect the integrity of that sport.”

The two ongoing police investigations center on separate allegations, made in British newspaper sting operations, of fixing in the divisions below the Premier League.

The most recent saw six people, including Blackburn striker D.J. Campbell, arrested after The Sun alleged spot-fixing — where minor elements of a game are rigged — in the professional leagues.

“If fans don’t trust what they see, the integrity of sport will be permanently damaged,” Culture Secretary Maria Miller said. “I asked the major sports to come in today to discuss what more can be done to tackle this.

“It was a very constructive meeting on a serious issue and there was a clear commitment from all to work together and see what more can be done.”

The FA has its own integrity unit and education programs but Horne said football can learn from cricket and racing.

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