In February this year Europol and police teams from 13 countries blasted a bombshell over European football. A massive investigation uncovered attempts to fix more than 380 professional football matches with 425 officials, criminals and players involved from 15 countries.
Nick Garlick, Senior Specialist at Europol, told the Play The Game attendees, why an investigation like this hadn’t been conducted before.
“We had a unique opportunity. We were able to bring together so many, different authorities. We have not had this platform before and that is why such a big investigation was conducted now.”
Games at all levels can be hit by match-fixing
In the investigation games as high as in The Champions League were under suspicion of being fixed.
But it might as well have been in the 6th tier of the English League system. And in fact it was. In the recent case of Billericay Town, a club with a average attendance of 500, generated more bets in the Asian market than a FC Barcelona game.
“The standard of the game does not matter. Bets will be placed on anything,” Garlick said.
Nick Garlick (Europol) says 6th division English football matches are attracting bettors in Asia #PTG2013
— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) October 29, 2013
Preparation is the key in fighting match-fixing
Garlick also contributed to the solutions in fighting these criminal actions in football.
“Life bans may not be constructive. They create fear and players will not tell the truth.”
“We should be aware that match-fixing can happen. And when it does, we should be prepared,” Garlick concluded.