In July, Uefa announced it would invest more resources to fight match-fixing and betting irregularities

The financial impact of Covid on football clubs has caused an increase in match-fixing cases, says Europol.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, and Uefa are working together to tackle match-fixing in football.

The first Europol-Uefa conference on match-fixing was held on Tuesday.

“Organised crime quickly understood that a lot of football clubs were suffering financially as a consequence of Covid-19,” said Burkhard Muhl.

Muhl, head of Europol’s European financial and economic crime centre, added: “And where there is less money, players, coaches, officials and even club executives are increasingly vulnerable to being corrupted by fixers.

“What with the huge profits associated with ‘making the unpredictable predictable’, we are seeing more and more cases of match-fixing and suspicious results.”

A total of 109 officials from law enforcement, judicial authorities and national football associations from 49 countries attended the conference at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague in the Netherlands.

“Co-operation between law enforcement and sports organisations is vital to not only detect and investigate suspected corruption in football, but also to stop such fraudulent activities before they can even begin,” Muhl said.

Sportradar, a company which detects unusual betting patterns, released a report in Octoberexternal-link saying it had detected more than 1,100 suspicious sports matches since the start of the pandemic in April 2020.

“This first joint Europol-Uefa international conference is an important step forward in the fight against match-fixing, and sends out a strong signal that both organisations are here to pool their forces and do their utmost to minimise this phenomenon”, said Angelo Rigopoulos, Uefa’s managing director of integrity and regulatory issues.

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