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MEP’s call for crackdown over match-fixing scandal

ECR MEPs have thrown their weight behind calls for an uncompromising crackdown on the scandal of match-fixing and corruption in European football.

ECR MEPs have thrown their weight behind calls for an uncompromising crackdown on the scandal of match-fixing and corruption in European football.

They are backing a resoltution in the European Parliament today demanding a comprehensive and co-ordinated campaign to tackle corruption by organised crime and betting syndicates. It stresses that the problem must be tackled not only by sports administrators but by law-enforcement agencies and the judiciary too.

On February 4 Europol announced that it had discovered an extensive criminal network involved in fixing, with 380 matches across Europe under suspicion.

Emma McClarkin, an ECR member of the culture and sport committee, told an emergency debate today that match-fixing posed a “real and present threat” to the integrity of global sport.

The UK East Midlands MEP said: ” The scale of what Europol’s investigation has uncovered is indeed concerning. Many of us were shocked by the findings.

“Match-fixing and corruption is not only affecting the higher levels of sport. Many allegations involve matches in lower divisions around Europe as well.

“Normally I do not think we should interfere too much when the sport organisations themselves have ways of solving problems. However, when corruption is endemic and widespread as this investigation illustrates, we are duty-bound to consider what intervention is necessary to tackle this growing problem.

She pointed out that match-finxing often involved criminal syndicates from outside Europe linking up with organised crime here in the EU, and added: “Exchange of information is vital. These discussions must also take place at a global level as these issues are not simply an EU internal matter.

“The integrity of sport is also vital for the gambling industry.”

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