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The world football governing body met with Interpol, the European Commission, the IOC and FIFPRO to consider new ways of fighting betting crimes

Representatives of Fifa participated in a seminar on the regulation of sports betting held in the European Parliament in Brussels last week.

The Early Warning System (EWS), a non-profit organisation set up by Fifa to monitor football betting, were at the fore of the discussions, which were also attended by Interpol, the European Commission, the IOC and FIFPRO.

The main topic up for deliberation was the lack of a common European stance on illegal betting or cross-border police collaboration regarding such crime.

Detlev Zenglein, general manager of EWS, told reporters: “The integrity of sport is being increasingly threatened by developments in the modern betting industry and the correlated opportunities for manipulation.

“Therefore public authorities at national, European and worldwide level, law enforcement agencies, the sport movement, gambling operators and gambling regulators are required to do everything in their power in order to safeguard the integrity of sport with regard to the betting market.

“This includes the adoption of a possible international legal instrument against match-fixing aimed at ensuring that national legal and administrative systems are provided with the necessary legal tools, expertise and resources to combat this phenomenon.

“The various individual national approaches towards sports betting laws have to be coordinated, at least with regard to sports integrity regulations.

“It has to be the overriding goal that sports federations, public authorities, betting operators and national regulators agree on a vital exchange, which also includes agreeing on the types of bets available or otherwise act against the integrity of sports.

“Therefore, a legally binding status has to be reached obliging betting operators to work closely together with national and international sporting associations, federations and other organisations and their respective sports monitoring agencies.”

Fifa commissioner Michel Barnier echoed Zenglein's sentiments, insisting the threat of fraud must be prevented in order to protect the integrity of the game.

Barnier said: "Protecting the integrity of competitions merits particular attention. The social values which sport encapsulates are in jeopardy.

“There is no other type of fraud where it is so evidently difficult for member states to tackle it alone. “We therefore have to guarantee effective cooperation between the national regulators, online gambling operators and sports federations to prevent match-fixing.

“We also have to consider minimum rules on conflicts of interest, perhaps with a ban on certain types of gambling or the creation of more rigorous control systems.”

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