With Ralf Mutschke less than a month into his new role as FIFA's Director of Security, FIFA.com spoke to the former INTERPOL director about the diverse range of tasks he now faces.
FIFA.com: This week you're flying to Brazil, hosts of the next FIFA World Cup™. What are you expecting from your first visit to the country?
Ralf Mutschke: The World Cup is one of the main topics I'm dealing with. That's why I'm happy to be going to Brazil for the first time next week with FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke. I'll meet our partners over there in order to establish an integrated security plan together. A lot of progress has already been made on that front and we need to put it into practice. But it's difficult because there are so many organisations responsible for security in Brazil. The national government, the host cities and regions, the Local Organising Committee (LOC), a special security taskforce (SESGE), the various state security authorities, the military and even private security firms are involved and we need to coordinate them all. That will keep me very busy.
Burning flares and fans storming the pitch are two recent problems in stadiums. How can that be prevented?
Pitch invasions and the burning of pyrotechnics are both no-goes for me. The associations need to take action. I aim to work closely with UEFA and I'll look to start doing that as soon as UEFA EURO 2012 is finished, especially in the areas of stadium safety as well as match fixing and how we can proceed together on those fronts. I think it's a very positive thing that FIFA is investing a great deal in an initiative against match fixing and for integrity in sport. The foundations have been laid but we need to build on them. I'm confident that along with our partners, we will create appropriate initiatives to achieve future success.
The FIFA-INTERPOL initiative is a very good project...We pay particular attention to the areas of the sport that are most threatened.
Last week several convictions were made for match fixing in Korea Republic and Croatia. What do you make of the strict punishments?
It is FIFA policy to have a zero-tolerance attitude [towards match fixing] and to act accordingly, so I welcome the Disciplinary Committee's firm approach wholeheartedly. I'd like such punishments to be given out more frequently, as long as there is sufficient evidence to do so. FIFA has to send out a signal to show that these matters will not be overlooked and that they will be forcefully dealt with. Our objective is long-term success in order to make the sport cleaner.
The convictions were very drastic. Does that underline FIFA's approach to the issue?
Yes, absolutely. It starts with the FIFA President and I support it too. Every one of the convictions was worth it. We investigate and try to collect evidence. I'd like more convictions of that nature.
Are you confident that match fixing can be eradicated?
No. It's not possible to defeat criminal activity altogether and match fixing is clearly such an activity. We'd need to create a different society in order to get rid of it. Corruption is another issue that will persist. However, I hope we can minimise the problem and restrict it. In that respect we will continue to put match fixers under considerable pressure. On top of that, I'm counting on preventative measures and hope that in the long-term we can give our youth the strength to develop resistance to criminal temptations to make a fast buck. But we won't be able to completely eliminate the problem.
At the FIFA Congress at the end of May, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble mentioned that the FIFA-INTERPOL initiative was now in its implementation stage. Can you give us an update on that?
The FIFA-INTERPOL initiative is a very good project. It was created a year ago and it laid the foundations for a project which is now being implemented. We pay particular attention to the areas of the sport that are most threatened. For example referees, players and officials. We started with our first workshop in Finland and will continue to build on that in the near future in conjunction with the different associations. I think you need to tackle corruption and match fixing on several fronts. With this approach we will achieve mid- and long-term success. That's why it's such an important project for me and I will personally support it very strongly.