FIFA ex-security chief says match-fixing a 'global crime'
May. 03, 2015
SOUTHERN SHUNEH, Jordan (AP) — Football is facing a "crisis of credibility with its fans" over match-fixing linked to an illegal betting industry that dwarfs the legitimate sports economy, FIFA's former security chief said Sunday.
Governments and leaders of the football industry must join forces in tackling this "global crime," said Chris Eaton of the Qatar-based International Center for Sport Security. He was speaking to a regional SoccerEx conference in Jordan and to The Associated Press.
"Football is facing a match-fixing crisis, a crisis of credibility with its fans," he told the AP.
"Football is not the only sport affected, but it is the most corrupted sport in the world today," Eaton claimed.
"We have to address this at the top level," he said, adding that it was not enough to go after a few players, such as former Premier League striker Delroy Facey who was recently sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for match-fixing.
Eaton told the conference that "there would be far less money to fix football matches or any other sports matches" if betting was regulated and legalized.
Eaton cited China as an example of the impact of match-fixing on the sport, saying viewership dropped sharply after scandals there. He said some $800 billion a year is bet on sports in China and by the Chinese diaspora in southeast Asia.
Criminals keep refining their methods, while "law enforcement is so far behind it's got a long way to catch up," he warned.