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A meeting of FIFPro Division Europe has concluded that UEFA's newly-adopted resolution to stamp out match-fixing fails to address certain fundamental needs of the players.

During last week's congress in Kazakhstan, UEFA announced its resolution to fight match-fixing (European football united for the integrity of the game). FIFPro Division Europe supports UEFA's campaign to tackle this serious threat to football, but the international footballers' association has some basic concerns regarding UEFA's resolution.

FIFPro condemns every attempt of illegally influencing the game of football. FIFPro joins UEFA in stating that match-fixing has reached intolerable levels. To protect the integrity of football, all stakeholders must collaborate. As match-fixing is a form of organised crime, sporting fraud should be recognised as a criminal offence under national law.

As much as FIFPro endorses the motivation behind UEFA's resolution, there are some serious concerns which FIFPro Division Europe insists on addressing, as these are of fundamental importance to both the players' rights and the fight against match-fixing.

While drafting the resolution, FIFPro had informed UEFA and all other stakeholders about the aforementioned concerns. Unfortunately these concerns form no part of the final resolution.

Proportional bans instead of zero tolerance
FIFPro stands for a strict case-by-case management instead of a zero tolerance policy. Each case has its own background. It makes a difference whether an individual (official, referee, coach, player, etc.) is forced into match-fixing by other parties or by his own choice. The only zero tolerance that FIFPro advocates is zero tolerance to match-fixing.

Secure reporting mechanism and an obligation to report
FIFPro states that individuals (officials, referees, coaches, players, etc.) can only be obliged to immediately notify the competition organiser if approached for match-fixing, on the condition that there is a secure information gathering system to allow people to report (if necessary on an anonymous basis) incidents of match-fixing or attempted match-fixing.

Good governance
FIFPro wants the UEFA member associations to ensure through their own regulations:

  • the respect of contracts between clubs and players, as the non-payment and non-monetary breach of contracts (e.g. discrimination, training alone) increase the vulnerability of the players.
  • good governance standards, including transparency, accountability, respect for fundamental rights, etc, within the football industry, to strengthen it against external abuse.

Tony Higgins, FIFPro Division Europe Board Member and FIFPro's spokesperson on match-fixing: "We have a very positive relationship with UEFA in our Don't Fix It and we share many common concerns. We are also working with UEFA (and the clubs and the leagues) in the integrity working group that has been established by the Professional Football Strategy Council in an effort to produce a coherent strategy going forward to deal with match-fixing."

"But we know - based on firm evidence - that players very often are the victims of match-fixing. Therefore the 'broad brush'-approach isn't always appropriate or productive."

"We also feel education and training must be given to every stakeholder group in football; it is very rare for match-fixing to be instigated by the players."