Asian syndicates make millions from fixed football matches, claims former FIFA chief
FIFA’s former head of security claims organised crime rings are making hundred of millions of pounds a year on the outcome of fixed football matches.
Chris Eaton, who left FIFA in 2011, believes the Asian betting market is so sophisticated — and government regulation there so weak — that it is attractive for those wanting to manipulate games for profit.
Europol claimed this week that a Singapore-based syndicate had directed match-fixing for at least 380 games in Europe alone, making at least €8million (£6.9m).
Claim: Chris Eaton believes Asian syndicates are making millions
But Eaton, now director of Qatar’s International Centre for Sport Security, said: ‘It’s infinitesimal compared to what was made in the Asian market.You can probably multiply that by a hundred.
‘There’s no will to regulate gambling houses in South-East Asia. There’s a lack of commitment.
‘This is bigger than Coca-Cola, which is a trillion a year.This is a global economy, a growing global economy, and it needs to be regulated and supervised, and governments aren’t doing this.
‘It’s all done with algorithms and machines, almost like any commodity house in the US or London. The three largest (gambling) houses each transact $2billion (around £1.28bn) a week.’
In the wake of the claims, FIFA has opened a website for whistleblowers to anonymously report corruption and match-fixing allegations.
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Eaton said the three largest gambling houses in Asia — IBCBET, http://iseta.edu.ar/aulavirtual/app/upload/users/1/1205/my_files/sbobet.html SBOBET and 188BET — could be exploited by organised crime syndicates and that investigating betting — rather than focusing on sport itself — is key to eliminating corruption. He believes 70 per cent of gambling on sport in Italy is unregistered and often channelled through South-East Asia.
Eaton added: ‘Sport corruption is born of betting fraud — it’s a cycle.
‘If they focused on transparency in gambling houses in South-East Asia, being able to see who did what, when and how, this alone would have a major effect on addressing the issues of sport corruption.
‘You have under-regulated gambling where the regulators are not really serious, transparency rules are not to best practice and government oversight is almost non-existent.
‘It’s almost impossible to measure how they do business and what weaknesses they have that allow organised crime to take advantage of them.’