Russian integrity initiative launched

Various prominent figures in Russian football were joined by FIFA Director of Security Ralf Mutschke and security officer Nicholas Raudenski, as well as Michaela Ragg and John Abbott of Interpol, at a workshop on Thursday, 17 October 2013 organised by the Russian Football Federation (RFU), focusing on the fight against match-manipulation.

Russian Minister for Sport and FIFA Executive Committee member Vitaly Mutko welcomed some 40 participants to the ministry for the FIFA/Interpol "Integrity in Sport" workshop. In his opening address, the minister referred to the three main dangers which the sport is facing, namely: "violence, racism and match-manipulation"

Mutko then outlined the new law that was passed this summer in Russia which makes the influencing of results of official sporting events a criminal offence, with sentences of up to five years in prison for match-manipulation.

RFU President Nikolay Tolstykh was delighted that all of the main interest groups were represented at the workshop, with a representative of a betting agency also actively taking part alongside the various football-based employees.

Ragg, who is Assistant Director for Integrity in Sport at Interpol, explained how "anyone who has influenced even the smallest detail of a match is already part of the system". Raudenski meanwhile spoke of cases in which players were contacted via Facebook by fixers whom they did not previously know.

The second part of the workshop saw active participation from those involved. Abbott, head of the Interpol "Integrity in Sport" steering committee, presented a number of case studies which related to true events. For example he asked Roberto Rosetti, the Italian who is head of referees at the RFU, how he thinks an official should react when offered a considerable sum of money to influence a result. The former top referee said that he would expect a clear "nyet!" in response and for the official in question to inform him immediately of the situation. A lively discussion followed featuring other cases.

By the end of what was a very intensive day, Tolstykh stated that he was very satisfied with the outcome of the workshop. "We achieved our aims and people are now discussing the topic," the RFU President said. "We are the first Russian sports federation to enter into this kind of project with international associations and authorities."

The workshop is designed to work in conjunction with the law passed last summer and be the starting point for a sustainable campaign in the fight to eradicate match-manipulation.