FIFA has sent a letter this week to the Guatemala Football Association in which it expresses its great concern on the decision rendered last week by the Court of Honour of the Autonomous Sports Confederation of Guatemala (CDAG) to overturn the lifetime ban that the disciplinary body of the Guatemala Football Association had imposed on players Guillermo Ramirez Ortega, Yony Wilson Flores Monroy and Gustavo Adolfo Cabrera Marroquin, for their involvement in match-fixing activities.

FIFA´s Disciplinary Committee had extended the lifetime ban imposed by the Guatemala FA on the three players to have worldwide effect on 23 October 2012 (for reference, please see news to the right).

In the letter, FIFA stresses the fact that the fight against match-fixing is one of the crucial challenges that global sport faces today and that the Guatemala FA had been praised for the firm action taken in 2012 to eradicate match fixing in the country.

Furthermore, FIFA notes that the three sanctioned players had the possibility to follow an adequate process at the sporting jurisdictional level and considers that the decision apparently taken by CDAG constitutes a clear violation of the FIFA Statutes with regards to the independence of the member associations and the non-interference of third parties.

FIFA has therefore asked the Guatemala FA to take the relevant measures to preserve its independence and solve this issue, and to inform football’s world governing body by 18 March about those measures. If this is not done, then FIFA will have no choice but to present this matter to the relevant bodies within the organisation in order to take the appropriate measures, which could include a suspension of the association.

The commitment of all stakeholders, including not only the sports organisations, but also the police, governments and judicial bodies worldwide is required in order to win the battle against match-fixing,. Without a coordinated approach from all stakeholders, it will not be possible to succeed in this fight.

FIFA will continue to tackle this problem with all the means at its disposal, such as the cooperation agreement existing with INTERPOL (see news to the right), the funding of monitoring structures like Early Warning System (link available to the right), and the work of its investigatory and judicial bodies.