The President of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is promising to unveil a secret and ‘very special’ project aimed at destroying the global multi-billion dollar illegal sports betting industry. The Switzerland based FIFA will be holding office elections during a congress of June 1.
Mr. Sepp Blatter, the President of FIFA and a Swiss national, plans to unveil this new ‘secret weapon’ prior to the start of the elections. This year, Mr. Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar (UAE), and the leader of the Asian Football Confederation is contesting Mr. Blatter in what is turning out to be a close race.
"(Mr. Blatter’s) ideas would not have seen the light of day had there not been a challenge to his leadership," wrote the humble 61-year-old Bin Hammam who can pass for a much younger man (but promises to share his secret only when elected FIFA president. )
Mr. Blatter, running for what could become his fourth term as the president of the international football association refused to disclose his ‘secret weapon’ to fight criminal groups. His plan will target cartels who ‘fix’ matches and bet on sports in Switzerland and the rest of the world.
Swiss Info’s Simon Bradley reports that Mr. Blatter would only say - "I will present something very special (on June 1) but I will not disclose what the content is now. It's to fight corruption, all cheating and discrimination."
Jens Sejer Andersen, director of the football-monitoring group Play the Game, sees such comments as election year political posturing and is willing to bet that there is little substance behind the bravado.
Mr. Anderson, well versed in FIFA politics, explains that - “We can’t completely dismiss (Blatter’s anti-sports betting project), as miracles can happen too, but he did something similar ahead of the (FIFA) congress in 2006 when there was a lot of talk about corruption.”
The one thing the world of international football hasn’t been short of is corruption. Online gambling news in Switzerland reports that last year’s 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding war took the back seat in the news headlines after FIFA suspended four high-ranking officials and barred two top committee members from voting.
Match fixing, points shaving, referee bribing and a list of other instances of manipulation of football games are “a major concern.”
A German Court sentenced three leaders of an international cartel responsible for ‘fixing’ over 200 football games throughout Europe, including 13 in Switzerland, have been sentenced to ‘a stiff sentence’ of three to four years in prison. Over two hundred henchmen await trial. The gang was even able to manipulate the 2010 World Cup qualifier game better Finland and Liechtenstein.
The European press described the Six and a half day prison sentence for each of the 200 ‘fixed’ games as ‘stiff. ’ The United States imprisons thousands for the duration of their natural life for purchasing only 200 marijuana cigarettes.
The Federal Sports Office of Switzerland are reopening old cases and are reevaluating Swiss gambling laws in light of the avalanche of sports corruption cases. Switzerland, a neutral country, is home to over 40 international sport federations that sometimes include representative wanted by the Interpol.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) appraises the turnover of global illegal sports betting at $140 billion of the total $350 billion bet on sports globally.