ZURICH: FIFA can today confirm the worldwide extension of sanctions imposed on 26 players and one official relating to match-manipulation investigations conducted by the Italian football association (FIGC).
Of the players involved, 23 are Italian nationals while the three others are Belgian, Belarusian and Croatian, with suspensions ranging in length from two months to four years. The official (Italian) was sanctioned with a ban from all football-related activity for a period of four years.
The extension of these sanctions follows new proceedings conducted this year by the FIGC called “Bari bis” and “Cremona quater”, which concern previous investigations into match manipulation.
In the “Bari bis” case, the FIGC Disciplinary Committee decided on 16 July 2013 to sanction 28 players with suspensions ranging from three months and ten days to four years, as well as one official with a ban of four years. On 27 July 2013, the Federal Court of Justice (the FIGC’s appeal body) rendered various decisions regarding the appeals lodged by 14 of the players against the above-mentioned decision. The Federal Court of Justice partially admitted the appeals of two players, reducing their respective suspensions, and rejected the appeals of the other players, confirming the decision of the FIGC Disciplinary Committee. The Federal Court of Justice also upheld the appeal lodged by the Disciplinary Inspector and consequently imposed a suspension of three years and three months on a player that had initially been acquitted by the FIGC Disciplinary Committee. The “Bari bis” proceedings relate to matches played in Italy’s Serie B in the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons.
In the “Cremona quater” case, the FIGC Disciplinary Committee decided on 2 August 2013 to sanction five players with suspensions ranging from two months to two years. On 2 October 2013, the Federal Court of Justice decided to reject the appeal lodged by one of the five players in the above-mentioned proceedings and to increase the suspension imposed by the FIGC Disciplinary Committee on the player. The “Cremona quater” proceedings relate to matches played in Italy’s Serie A in the 2010-2011 season.
After being informed by the FIGC of the various decisions rendered by the association’s judicial bodies in both proceedings, and after a careful analysis of the files and documents provided on request by FIFA, the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee decided to extend the sanctions imposed on 26 players and one official to have worldwide effect in accordance with art. 136 ff of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC).
The decisions taken by the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee were duly notified to the relevant associations and to UEFA on 12 November 2013.
FIFA continues to work closely with its member associations and the confederations to tackle match manipulation. As part of a ten-year programme of collaboration with INTERPOL, regional workshops involving key stakeholders are being held all over the world while recently launched e-learning programmes are also helping to educate players, coaches and referees on the dangers of match manipulation to help them to avoid becoming victims of this threat to football integrity.
Other initiatives include the signing of an integrity declaration by officials, the monitoring of the betting market via FIFA’s subsidiary Early Warning System (EWS) and the setting up of an e-learning ethics tool, an integrity hotline and e-mail address, and a confidential reporting system.
Picture above: © Getty Images