Footballers do their utmost to “Protect Our Game!”

FIFPro’s reaction to the implementation of the Code of Conduct in an attempt to put a stop to match-fixing in European professional football is one of pride and determination.

Over the last two years, FIFPro Division Europe, in collaboration with nine of its players’ unions, as well as UEFA and Birkbeck, University of London, has laid an important foundation in the fight against match-fixing. All the aforementioned parties have worked together on the information and educational programme Don’t Fix It; the aim of which was to provide the players and all other parties involved in professional football (referees, administrators, integrity officers, authorities) with detailed, expert information concerning match-fixing and to warn of its dangers.

One of the results of this project was the drawing up of a joint Code of Conduct, which provides all players, referees, clubs and other officials with clear information about how to act in order to safeguard the integrity of professional football. The Code of Conduct has finally been adopted by all the important parties in European football, namely UEFA and the three stakeholders EPFL, ECA and FIFPro Division Europe, who have come together to form a special Integrity Working Group "Protect Our Game".

"This explains why FIFPro is so proud ", says Tony Higgins, FIFPro’s spokesman in the fight against match-fixing." It shows once again that FIFPro is fully committed to fighting match-fixing and continues to take the lead in many instances in confronting it."

By signing this Code of Conduct, all professional footballers and all other stakeholders in the game promise to distance themselves from match-fixing and in doing so, do their utmost to "Protect Our Game!".

However, FIFPro also wants to emphasise its determination because the launch of this Code of Conduct does not yet mean that the fight against match-fixing is anywhere near being won.

"Last week, experts said that between 60 and 80 countries have reported cases of football match-fixing per year over the last three years", said Higgins. "These figures show the danger presented by this awful phenomenon."

"I recently saw an interview with one of the leading figures from this criminal world. It was shocking to see how this person spoke with pride and without any form of remorse about the activities through which he has damaged tens, hundreds, maybe thousands of lives and destroyed sporting careers. That interview irrefutably proved that match-fixing is an extremely serious crime in which the lives of professional footballers, referees and administrators are subordinated to the greed of professional criminals."

The fact that the Council of Europe has today begun by signing the new convention on the manipulation of sports competitions is an important step in the fight against match-fixing. The states who are signing the convention have notably undertaken to punish the manipulation of sports competitions under criminal law. Higgins: "In order to eradicate match-fixing, it is an absolute necessity to consider sporting fraud a crime."

Also read: European football adopts code of conduct on integrity

For more information:

Raymond Beaard
FIFPro Communication
Tel: +31 23 5546970
Mob: +31 6 23769852
Fax: +31 23 5546971
Scorpius 161
2132 LR Hoofddorp
The Netherlands

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