Football to urge vigilance on International Anti-Corruption Day

FIFA is only too aware of the dangers posed by corruption. On the pitch, it manifests itself in the form of match manipulation and undermines the most basic principle of our sport: the uncertainty of the result.

Off the pitch, it has led to millions of dollars lining the pockets of unscrupulous individuals instead of funding development of the sport around the world. In 2015, it brought down the previous administration of FIFA and threatened the very existence of the federation.

Since 2016, the new administration has taken a zero-tolerance approach to corruption and made significant strides in relation to good governance and football integrity, including the fight against match manipulation.

However, FIFA remains a sporting federation. It does not have the powers to police or investigate those who are outside the world of football, nor does it have expertise in these areas, so instead it has looked to forge alliances with regional and international organisations.

As part of this, FIFA signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in September 2020 to step up their joint cooperation to address threats posed by crime to sport.

Following on from that, the two sides launched a joint-campaign on 9 December – Anti-Corruption Day – to encourage football to speak out against match-fixing. The campaign aims to raise awareness amongst players, coaches and officials about the confidential platforms available to report approaches by suspected match-fixers and to encourage anyone in football who may have been approached to come forward.  

FIFA Legends, including Sun Wen, Iván Córdoba, Luke Wilkshire, Wael Gomaa, Stipe Pletikosa, Clémentine Touré and Bibiana Steinhaus, took part and encouraged everyone in football to recognise, resist and report any approach to fix a match.

The co-operation took another step forward in March this year with the launch of the Global Integrity Programme, a comprehensive international programme aimed at providing all 211 FIFA member associations with enhanced knowledge and tools to prevent and fight match manipulation.

The Programme is organised in different editions per confederation and includes a series of virtual workshops distributed in three modules, to be delivered to all FIFA member associations.

FIFA Integrity App

After the editions that brought together member associations from the AFC, CONMEBOL and Concacaf regions, the CAF member associations came together for five one-day integrity workshops between 30 September and 4 November. Further editions of the Programme, for OFC and UEFA, are scheduled to take place in 2022.

In addition, FIFA and UNODC have collaborated on a number of initiatives in a bid not only to fight crime, but to firmly establish safeguarding as core to all and any football activities, at all levels. Through programmes such as FIFA Guardians and the FIFA Guardians Safeguarding in Sport Diploma, significant strides have been made toward ensuring children and young athletes are kept safe from violence and exploitation.

FIFA’s strengthened efforts to reform the transfer system also represent a continuation of its commitment to tackle corruption.

In June this year, the Council of Europe, based on the work of its Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) reported how the forthcoming FIFA Clearing House “will represent a milestone in achieving comprehensiveness, transparency and integrity of the transfer system for football players around the world."