“Organized crime gangs have fixed or tried to fix hundreds of soccer matches around the world in recent years, including World Cup and European Championship qualifiers and two Champions League games, Europol announced Monday.
The European Union’s police agency said an 18-month review found 380 suspicious matches in Europe and another 300 questionable games outside the continent, mainly in Africa, Asia and South and Central America. It also found evidence that a Singapore-based crime syndicate was involved in some of the match-fixing.
Europol refused to name any suspected matches, players, officials or match-fixers, saying that would compromise ongoing national investigations, so it remained unclear how much of the information divulged Monday was new or had already been revealed in trials across the continent.
“A Champions League tie played in England is one of 680 matches across the world investigators say was fixed.
European police did not reveal the identity of the match they believe was corrupt in England.
But Europol did say that they had uncovered an organised crime syndicate based in Asia that was co-ordinating the operation.
- The fixed Champions League tie in England took place in the “last three or four years”;
- The identity of that match cannot be revealed due to “ongoing judicial proceedings”;
- Other “corrupt” matches included World Cup and European Championship qualifiers and “several top football matches in European leagues”;
- In Germany-based matches alone, criminals wagered £13.8m (16m euros) on rigged matches and m
“Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, released today the upsetting findings of a match-fixing investigation that began last summer.
According to Europol’s findings, 425 match officials, players, criminals and others were involved in European match-fixing since 2008. Europol has not yet revealed any specific names thought to be involved.
Russian-speaking and other European gangs are also said to be involved in the widespread corruption of the sport. In fact, suspects from as many as 10 different countries could play a role in fixing a single match.
Investigators found that $2.7 million were paid out as bribes to players and officials; another $10.9 million were won as related gambling profits.