AFC, Interpol meet on match fixing 'cancer'
ReutersKUALA LUMPUR -- The “cancer” of soccer match fixing is a pandemic which is too big for one organisation to tackle alone, AFC acting President Zhang Jilong warned as the regional body and Interpol kicked off a two-day seminar on the issue on Wednesday.
February 21, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
World soccer was rocked earlier this month when European police said a Singapore-based syndicate had directed match fixing for at least 380 soccer games in Europe alone, with documented profits of 8 million euros (US$11 million) believed to be just the tip of the iceberg.
While the news shocked many in Europe, the announcements were met with little surprise in Asia, which has long struggled to tackle the problem with high profile cases in South Korea, China and Malaysia in recent years.
Zhang, who served as the chairman of the Asian Football Confederation's Finance Committee during the final years of Mohammed Bin Hammam's reign as AFC president before the Qatari was banned for life by FIFA for corruption and bribery, said cooperation was required to tackle the problem.
“We are ready to work hand in hand to eradicate this cancer from the game,” Zhang told reporters in Kuala Lumpur in his opening speech.
“Match fixing is too complicated and widespread for one organisation to fight it alone.
“No continent is now left untouched by this disease. Match fixing is now a pandemic in the world football.”
The lack of arrests in the global match fixing case, that has been reported on in Singapore newspapers for years, have led to criticism but FIFA director of security Ralf Mutshke said that the issue was above their jurisdiction.
“This is a question basically for law enforcement on one side and a problem which politicians have to solve,” he said in his address.
“This is a criminal case. It has nothing to do with our responsibility.”
Zhang has been in temporary charge of the AFC since June 2011 and is expected to run for the full presidency post during the elections in May after the AFC were finally granted legal clearance to replace Bin Hammam.