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Don’t Fix It – the education and prevention programme by FIFPro, in cooperation with Birkbeck, University of London, UEFA and the European Union – is taking an important next step. In Budapest, FIFPro is organising a two-day training programme for all participating countries.

 

Representatives from the nine participating countries will be present in Budapest. In addition, FIFPro will also welcome representatives of the referees, officials and administrators from each country to Hungary. Together these will form a so-called focal point in each country and implement the education programmes at national level.

 

The participants in Budapest will be attending a two-day course. FIFPro has invited various speakers to address the course members on Wednesday 5 June, the first day of the course, about their experiences with and knowledge of match fixing; these speakers include solicitor Kevin Carpenter, Transparency International’s Sylvia Schenk, investigative journalist Declan Hill and Interpol’s Julie Norris.

 

The second day of the course, on Thursday 6 June, will be practical. The representatives of the trade unions, officials, referees and administrators must draw up a plan in which they define the form and content of the education and prevention campaigns. They will use these campaigns to train the players, officials, referees and administrators in their own country.

 

FIFPro launched the Don’t fix it project in December 2012. Since then, considerable work has been done, primarily by Dr. Andy Harvey and his colleagues at the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre (BSBC), University of London. The researchers have been talking with players and players’ associations in England, Finland, Greece, Italy, Norway, Romania, Scotland and Slovenia. Dr. Harvey investigated the factors that invite match fixing, including gambling, criminal activities, intimidation and low wages. He is to present a report of his research on Wednesday.

 

The conclusions of Dr. Harvey’s report form the basis for the project, for the education and prevention programme arises from what the study identifies as the most important reason for players to decide to participate actively in manipulating matches.

 

One of Dr. Harvey main conclusions is that the extent of match fixing in Europe is impossible to quantify to any great degree of accuracy. ‘We must be neither alarmist nor complacent. But it is necessary to recognise that match fixing is a growing threat that needs to be tackled effectively and systematically.’

 

Match fixing has occurred in every country that participates in this project. Dr. Harvey and his research team noticed that match fixing has a different profile in different countries. In some countries it may be related to gambling addiction, in others to infiltration of clubs by criminal gangs, while in others it is related to poor wages and working conditions. In some countries there are multiple causes and conditions that lead to match fixing. Each country needs to find its own solutions based on its own context. ‘There is no one-size-fits-all approach to tackle match-fixing’, says Harvey. ‘Education and prevention programmes should be tailored to the needs of the target audience based on research into that audience.’

 

‘It is important to realise that to tackle match fixing across Europe it will be necessary to adopt a holistic approach, with attention to governance, financial regulation and co-operation between law enforcement agencies. Without tackling the social, cultural, legal and economic conditions, interventions such as education are likely to be ineffective.’

 

‘In this context education programmes aimed at players, referees and officials are only a part of the solution and should not be seen as a panacea. Players also need to be given proper protection if they are to report approaches to fix matches. It is unethical to require players and officials to report approaches if they are not given guarantees as to confidentiality and safety.’

 

 

Don’t Fix It is an education and prevention programme by FIFPro, in cooperation with Birkbeck, University of London, UEFA and the European Union. Nine national players’ associations in Europe are participating: England, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Romania, Scotland and Slovenia.

 

The specific aims of the Don’t Fix It project are:

  1. To significantly raise awareness of the dangers of match fixing among players, referees, officials, administrators, organisations and public authorities and to raise the ability of those involved in professional football to take effective action against match fixing.
  2. To improve the structural environment of professional football and reduce the conditions that lead to match fixing. Conditions include workplace bullying, harassment and intimidation, poor reporting mechanisms, inconsistent standards of conduct, and lack of expertise and knowledge among key football bodies and public authorities.
  3. To establish strong and relevant networks at national and European levels to take the lead in the fight against match fixing.