EWS congress highlights need for unity

FIFA President, Joseph S. Blatter
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The Early Warning System (EWS) congress in Zurich today carried a strong message: sport is increasingly coming under attack from ethical threats and more stringent measures are needed to combat this.

With the headline ‘Sports, Business and Ethics – A Situation Analysis’, a number of key issues were addressed by industry leaders including FIFA Head of Security Ralf Mutschke, Interpol Assistant Director Integrity of Sport Michaela Ragg, law and ethics professor Mark Pieth and football manager Reiner Calmund.

Delivering the opening key-note address at the Letzigrund Stadium event, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter emphasized the zero-tolerance approach that is needed to tackle threats such as match-fixing and racism.

“Prevention must go hand in hand with punishment. Punishment that hits hard,” said Blatter.

“Fines achieve little, but points deductions and exclusion from competitions would be effective measures.”

President Blatter also stressed the importance of the two-chamber FIFA Ethics Committee and newly created Anti-Discrimination Taskforce in protecting the integrity of football.

"These committees need to spread their influence below the level of FIFA to also cover the confederations, associations and clubs.

“It is easy to control the game on the pitch, where we have lines, referees and stoppage time, but outside of the pitch we have around 300 million active players involved in football and we don’t always have clear boundaries or limits.

“We need to improve these parameters to protect the ethical and moral aspects of sport."

On the issue of match-fixing, EWS CEO Urs Scherrer outlined the work of his company, a FIFA subsidiary, in monitoring 800 matches in 2011 and 1,500 in 2012. At the same time, Scherrer highlighted some of the challenges in minimising the negative effects of sports betting.

“Anyone outside sport who operates outside of the law is beyond the reach of sports organisations and sports judicial bodies. At the end of the day, the fight against sport manipulation in general, or more specifically in connection with sports betting – a subject of particular interest today – must therefore also involve the state and criminal prosecution authorities,” said Scherrer.

“Sport and the state must join forces and work together to avoid paying mere lip service to protecting the integrity of sport and fighting criminal manipulation in sport. FIFA has already been active in this area by teaming up with INTERPOL.”

FIFA Head of Security Ralf Mutschke and Interpol Assistant Director Integrity of Sport Michaela Ragg presented on how the two organisations are working together to tackle match-fixing and match-manipulation, including organising workshops around the world and building a network of integrity officers across FIFA’s 209 member associations.

Meanwhile Mark Pieth, who has been responsible for overseeing a review of FIFA’s organisational structures and procedures in his role as Chairman of the Independent Governance Committee, gave an update on the two-year reform process which is set to conclude at the FIFA Congress in Mauritius in May.

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