FIFA set up an early warning system in July 2007 to monitor sports betting on all FIFA tournaments. On behalf of FIFA, the Zurich-based Early Warning System GmbH (EWS), a neutral non-profit company, was established to monitor matches and to safeguard the integrity of football. The programme commenced with the monitoring of all preliminary matches for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South AfricaTM and EWS is now monitoring all FIFA competitions, both male and female. Before that FIFA also established an early warning system preceding the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany and successfully piloted the scheme during the tournament.
Since its establishment, EWS has made a name for itself through its monitoring of the sports betting market and has progressively expanded and optimised the warning system over the last four years. As a result, EWS was commissioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to monitor the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and has since also worked for other sporting organisations.
EWS is tasked with monitoring the worldwide sports betting market and using its own monitoring system to detect and prevent the influencing of FIFA matches with a view to obtaining unfair winnings. EWS developed further specific measures for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa that went beyond the monitoring and analysis standards in place since 2007. These measures included setting up a hotline on which players, referees, officials and anyone else could leave messages if they became aware, in any way, of possible influences. After the conclusion of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, it was decided to continue to run the hotline so that messages in relation to all FIFA-relevant tournaments can be left at any time. Prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, all participating member associations were sent a circular informing them of the risks and consequences of potential match-fixing attempts, and all match commissioners were specially briefed on possible scenarios. This range of information will also be made available for all upcoming FIFA-tournaments.
Recent experience, particularly in national and international club football, has highlighted the importance of warning systems to monitor sports betting. With this in mind, EWS also offers its services to both interested FIFA member associations, and international football events organised by confederations. In this way, FIFA and its member associations aim to safeguard the integrity, and, accordingly, the transparent basic rules of our sport.
In May 2011, it was announced that FIFA, will donate to INTERPOL the largest grant it has ever received from a private institution to create an unprecedented ten-year programme worth millions of euros a year at a dedicated FIFA Anti-Corruption Training Wing within the INTERPOL Global Complex (IGC) in Singapore. Under the agreement, INTERPOL will receive €4 million in each of the first two years, followed by €1.5 million in each of the following eight years.
INTERPOL’s longest-ever funded initiative will target illegal and irregular betting and match-fixing, the scale of which has been highlighted by recent fixing allegations and the involvement of Asian gambling syndicates in global match-fixing – with estimates by INTERPOL’s global law enforcement network that illegal football gambling is worth up to hundreds of millions of US dollars in Asia alone each year..
The programme will also create a continuous learning and operational platform for all officials involved directly or indirectly in international and national football. It will also deliver regional training and advice at international football events such as the FIFA World Cup™ and FIFA Club World Cup, as well as at youth competitions ranging from U-17 to U-20 events.
FIFA have also created an internal Betting Integrity Investigation Task Force, which will comprise members of FIFA’s Legal Division and Security Department, as well as the Early Warning System GmbH.