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The Don't Fix It project officially came to an end today, Wednesday 3 June. But FIFPro and UEFA are determined to continue their joint initiatives in the fight against match-fixing.

"We have made good progress since the launch of Don't Fix It, yet there is still much to do. We simply cannot stop this project", states Tony Higgins, chair of Don't Fix It and also vice president of FIFPro Division Europe. "We are delighted that our partners also share this opinion and have the same drive to continue this difficult fight."

FIFPro and UEFA are in discussions to continue their collaboration in a new project, entitled Protect Our Game. Once again, this project can count on the support of Birkbeck, University of London. In addition the European Professional Football Leagues and Transparency International have already pledged their assistance. FIFPro and UEFA hope other European stakeholders will join shortly.

"There is still enough work to be done," continues Higgins. "We shall continue our study because it is essential that we remain fully appraised of the latest facts. Other main points are the improvement of education programmes, the development of a robust and reliable system for people who wish to share information about match-fixing and the protection of whistle-blowers."

"Finally, we have to do everything possible to guarantee good governance: players must receive their salaries on time and be treated decently by their employer, in order to prevent them from becoming vulnerable to advances from fixers."

On 1 January 2013, FIFPro, UEFA and Birkbeck University officially launched Don't Fix It, a promotional and education project that was supported financially by the European Commission; nine players unions in eight European countries participated. Don't Fix It produced many tangible results, including:

  • a qualitative research in which nearly 2,000 professional footballers participated. It is the first large scale attempt to ascertain the views of current players in regards to match-fixing;
  • the establishment of national networks, consisting of representatives of the players, referees, officials/administrators and public authority;
  • a Good Practice Guide, designed to help professional football players' associations play their part in efforts to protect their members and to protect football from match-fixing and other threats to integrity;
  • a Code of Conduct, for all participants in professional football, which has recently been adopted by all stakeholders in European football (UEFA, FIFPro, ECA, EPFL), and therefore will be implemented in the near future.

An international, European network was also set up, the so-called Professional Football Strategy Council Working Group of Integrity Matters, in which all four stakeholders in European professional football are represented: UEFA, EPFL, ECA and FIFPro Division Europe. The aim is that all parties share information, cooperate and support each other.

"Looking back over the past year and a half, we notice that the awareness of match-fixing among the players has increased enormously. We have placed match-fixing on the map", says Higgins.

"We have also fought hard to emphasise that footballers are not the ones who initiate match-fixing. There is now a realisation among all stakeholders that in virtually every case the players were the victims and that match-fixing is organised by criminal organisations. That distinction is extremely important."

"Another result is that we have improved our contacts with both Europol and Interpol. Two highly respected organisations that can prove valuable in this fight."

All this is but the beginning. Match-fixing remains a threat. In the coming months and years, the national networks must develop their policy with the aid of the Good Practice Guide.

Higgins: "It is in everybody's interest that what we have built up in the past year and a half should be developed further. The criminals will not sit around doing nothing, so we will have to make our organisation even stronger to protect our game."

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