Geneva, Switzerland (4E Sports) – Calling it a “sad day for European football”, a senior crime fighter revealed that authorities are investigating 680 games across the globe after they discovered alleged match-fixing in two Champions Leagues matches, including one played in England.
The Europol said European football games are now no longer safe from corruption after they discovered traces of match-fixing in two Champions League games.
“This is the work of a suspected organized crime syndicate based in Asia and operated with criminal networks around Europe,” Europol director Rob Wainwright told reporters, following its 18-month probe.
“It is clear to us this is the biggest-ever investigation into suspected match-fixing in Europe. It has yielded major results which we think have uncovered a big problem for the integrity of football in Europe. We have uncovered an extensive criminal network.”
Wainwright said a total of 380 games in Europe — including World Cup and European Championship qualifiers — have been deemed suspicious. Also, he said that 425 match and club officials and criminals 15 different countries are involved.
Aside from that, 300 matches outside of Europe, including in South America and Africa, are also under suspicion, including games involving national teams from Africa, Asia, Central and South America.
Wainwright said that an estimated $21.7 million had been bet on matches by criminals, yielding an $10.8 million profit, with the highest single bribe of €140,000 paid in Austria.
Wainwright will be writing to UEFA president Michel Platini to inform him of Europol’s findings.
“I’m a committed football fan,” Wainwright said. “I’m encouraged by the serious way many football administrators are taking it and by the results of this investigation.”
The Confederation of African Football said it will not act on the report until it receives the full disclosed information from Europol.
“Second, CAF will take action if the fixed matches fall within our jurisdiction at the continental level, and national when required,” CAF said in a statement.
Recently, 41 South Korean players found guilty of prearranging matches and the president of the South African Football Association was suspended in December ahead of an investigation into match-fixing in the country prior to hosting the 2010 World Cup.