FIFA and INTERPOL have launched a series of e-learning programmes aimed at educating players, coaches and referees on the dangers of match manipulation to help them avoid becoming victims of this threat to football integrity.
The online programmes, each focusing on a different group often targeted by match-fixers, offer an interactive guide on how to recognise, resist and report attempts at match-fixing and related issues. The programmes are available in five languages (Arabic, English, French, Spanish and German) on both the FIFA and INTERPOL websites.
FIFA Security Director Ralf Mutschke says that the programmes represent a key deliverable of the FIFA/INTERPOL initiative, which aims to improve awareness and understanding of corruption in football, and the methods to detect and counteract it.
“FIFA and INTERPOL are placing huge importance on combating match manipulation as it continues to threaten the integrity of football,” said Mutschke.
“One of the keys to success is raising awareness within the football community and providing educational tools for the people most at risk of being influenced by match-fixers. For the first time, football has a widely accessible resource that presents match manipulation-related issues in a practical, targeted and visually stimulating way.”
The e-learning modules are highly interactive, using quizzes, games and audio-visual elements helping to emphasise the key messages. Real-life scenarios are also incorporated to help users more easily identify the tactics that match-fixers might use to pressure them into manipulating a match.
“With the launch of our comprehensive e-learning modules, the football community now has a tool to help protect the sport against threats posed by organised criminal networks which seek to make an illegal profit through match manipulation,” said Michaela Ragg, Assistant Director of INTERPOL’s Integrity in Sport unit.
“By educating the players, coaches and referees who are at high risk of being coerced into fixing a match, we hope the e-learning programmes will equip them with the knowledge and ability to resist these approaches and protect the integrity of the sport,” she concluded.
The programmes are designed to be used by FIFA’s member associations as part of their existing integrity training, or as standalone training programmes. They form part of a wider effort to preserve football from the growing threat of match-fixing.
FIFA and INTERPOL agreed a ten-year joint initiative in May 2011 to enhance global efforts to tackle match manipulation and corruption in the sport.
As part of the initiative, INTERPOL has organised more than 11 Integrity in Sport workshops in all regions of the world, with support from FIFA. Information sessions are held in advance of all FIFA tournaments, and an anonymous hotline has been created for people to report tips or suspicious activity.
In addition, INTERPOL has also coordinated major conferences bringing together football associations, betting companies, gambling regulatory authorities and law enforcement to tackle the issues related to corruption in football and its links to organised crime.