NYON: European federation UEFA and Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, have concluded a Memorandum of Understanding to reinforce the fight against match-fixing.

The memorandum was signed today at UEFA’s House of European Football in Nyon by president Michel Platini and the director of Europol, Rob Wainwright.

According to Europol it comprises “the mutual provision of expertise and constant consultation in the areas of match-fixing in football and related organised crime, as well as the exchange of information and knowhow related to those areas.”

This means joint projects and an exchange information on suspected matchfixing cases as well as the methods used by individuals or criminal organisations to manipulate matches.

Europol will also provide “expert assistance and advice to UEFA and its 54 national member associations on key aspects of contemporary criminal organisation in the area of match-fixing.”

Platini said: “Matchfixing is not a fantasy, it is a sad and serious reality. UEFA and its member associations know that football authorities do not have the means to deal with this problem by themselves. Therefore, I am extremely happy to have the support of Europol. By joining forces, we will have more power.

“Since my election in 2007, I have made the fight against matchfixing a priority. We have to do everything to preserve the integrity of our games. Football has to be transparent, and maintain the magic of being a truly unpredictable game.”

Wainwright described the MoU as “an important step forward in the fight against matchfixing and a strong signal showing Europol’s and UEFA’s will to do our utmost to minimise this phenomenon.”

He added: “It sends an important message to organised criminal groups that football and law enforcement are united in seeking to protect one of the world’s premier sports.”

UEFA has a zero-tolerance policy towards matchfixing as illustrated by sanctions, including lifetime bans, for guilty players, officials and referees.

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