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UEFA to set up special unit to stamp out corruption

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 26 Sep 2008

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A special investigation unit to stamp out match-fixing and corruption in football has been rubber-stamped by UEFA, according to general secretary David Taylor on Friday.

“We will be setting up a special investigations unit to look into situations reported to us in terms of irregular betting,” he said.

“This is a danger in our game, we will not allow our sport to be destabilised by those who wish to manipulate it.”

European football has witnessed a string of match-rigging scandals of late, with one of the most high profile in Portugal involving champions Porto and Boavista.

Both clubs were implicated in a widespread corruption affair which came to light in 2004, whereby a number of referees reportedly received bribes in the form of money and prostitutes.

Boavista were kicked out of Portugal's top flight and last month had their stadium seized by fiscal authorities and Porto were initially thrown out of the Champions League, but were later reinstated after an appeal.

“We want a European system, with the goal in the future being not only for European matches, but with the whole of football,” Taylor said.

“But the first stage is the creation of this investigation branch for the competitions concerned with UEFA.”

He added: “We are employing extra people and strengthening our early warning systems to fight the war against illegal betting and corruption.”

The unit should be fully operational from next season and will have experts who will review suspected irregularities in European competitions, said UEFA legal affairs director Gianni Infantino.

“We will start recruiting immediately,” Infantino said. “We need additional expertise. We have to set up the necessary tools to fight against this.”

UEFA have handed a report to Interpol detailing suspicions that 26 matches in the Champions League, Uefa Cup and Intertoto Cup had been fixed.

Of these, 15 are still under investigation.

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