- INTERPOL is to help the world football body FIFA create an international taskforce against illegal betting in football.
The world police body pledged its ‘strong support’ for the creation of the international taskforce after talks between both global organisations on 1 December at the request of FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble praised the FIFA President’s initiative and said that his organisation was ‘strongly-placed' to help FIFA tackle illegal sports gambling - especially illegal betting with links to organised crime.
"We know that illegal sports betting is frequently controlled by organised crime groups willing to corrupt players and officials as well as to use force and threats to collect unpaid debts," added Mrl Noble.
He also pointed to INTERPOL’s success with Operation SOGA II in 2008 as a model of international police co-operation targeting transnational organised crime groups engaged in illegal sports betting.
The INTERPOL–co-ordinated operation led by its Asian member countries from May-June 2008 targeted illegal soccer gambling across Asia and resulted in more than 1,300 arrests and the seizure of more than 16 million US dollars from raids in more than 1,000 illegal gambling dens. Many of these gambling dens were controlled by organised crime gangs believed to have handled nearly one-and-a-half billion US dollars’ worth of bets.
The new commitment comes as FIFA finalises its preparation for the first World Cup event to be held on the Africa continent, in South Africa.
FIFA is holding the final draw, in Cape Town on Friday, for teams that have qualified for the 2010 tournament.
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