Mutschke: Match-fixing must be combated

Ralf Mutschke will become FIFA Director of Security on 1 June 2012. The 52-year-old is to head up FIFA's new Security Division, and brings with him the experience of more than 30 years working with the police both in Germany and internationally. Mutschke was chief of the CID operational services subdivision of the German Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA) and an INTERPOL director. FIFA.com spoke to him about his new task.

FIFA.com: Ralf, what persuaded you to take over as FIFA Director of Security?
Ralf Mutschke
: I'd like to quote FIFA President Blatter, who said match-fixing is one of the biggest threats to the sport and must be combated. For me, the integrity of sport, and especially football, is hugely at risk. The values of fair play, respect, discipline and honesty are under threat. Protecting the integrity of football is a task for FIFA, and the police also fundamentally protect these values. If we look at those perpetrating it, we’re definitely talking about criminals - you might even say organised criminality. This is where 33 years working for the federal criminal force become relevant. I think I can make a good contribution. I spent ten years on the beat fighting drug dealing and organised criminality, and I've now been working in police management for around 20 years, developing crime-fighting strategies and organising day-to-day police work.

You've also worked for INTERPOL. How might you use your international connections in your new job?
FIFA has concluded a long-term partnership with INTERPOL. I personally spent more than four years at INTERPOL as director and deputy director, fulfilling a United Nations mandate as part of the convention against cross-border organised crime. I'm suited to this work. Overall, I bring enormous experience to my role as the new Security Director of FIFA. I think my experience is important, because fighting criminality and co-operating with the police are our fundamentals. After working in the police for more than 30 years both at home and abroad, I think that's a good basis for my new job.

What do you think will be your biggest challenges in the new job?
It's a very wide ranging role. It includes physically securing FIFA premises, the personal security of the FIFA President and the staff, and security at FIFA competitions. Arguably the biggest challenge is the fight against match-fixing, a subject which is very important to me. We'll need to co-operate closely with security authorities at a domestic and international level, which is where my experience will help.

How would you assess FIFA’s creation of a dedicated Security Division?
It's a clear sign that FIFA intends to steadfastly continue along its chosen path. The creation of the new division is a unmistakable signal to the outside world that FIFA means business in the fight against corruption, match-fixing and betting scams. I want to continue along this path, intensify our efforts and expand them.

Where will you start in fighting these crimes?
In my opinion, FIFA's liaison with INTERPOL will prove very successful. It creates a bridge to the security authorities. Together with the authorities, we have to rise to the challenge and take up the fight. I have personal contact to senior figures at INTERPOL right up to the General Secretary, and I've already successfully worked with the officials responsible for FIFA in the past. These contacts and the experience will be of maximum use in my job for FIFA.

You used to play football yourself. What's your personal relationship with the game?
Way back when I played at the highest amateur level, and even after I hung up my boots, I remained very close to football for a long time. Until a few years ago, I was a youth coach and closely involved in youth development. Football is one of my great loves. I’m affected personally when football and its values are under attack, so I'm delighted I can make a contribution to fighting this threat.