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Match-fixing could prove “death” of football – Platini

Match-fixing could prove “death” of football – Platini

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UEFA president Michel Platini has cited match-fixing and illegal betting as presenting the biggest threats to the future of football.

UEFA president Michel Platini has cited match-fixing and illegal betting as presenting the biggest threats to the future of football.

Although the head of European football conceded that racism and hooliganism are problems for the sport, he believes the end of uncertainty about results would kill passion for the game and even the sport itself. “Racism and violence do not affect just soccer but the public,” he told French radio station RTL. “On the other hand, we are directly concerned by match-fixing. For me, this is the big shame. If tomorrow, we go watch a game already knowing the outcome, football is dead.”

Platini’s comments come after the latest development in Italy’s match-fixing scandal. Napoli’s Serie A title ambitions were handed a major lift last week after the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) rescinded a two-point deduction imposed on the club for match-fixing. Napoli in December became the latest Italian team to be punished in the scandal after being hit with the points penalty and a Eur70,000 fine. The punishments handed out by FIGC’s disciplinary committee related to a key game between Napoli and Sampdoria on the final day of the 2009-10 season. Sampdoria won the game 1-0, with the result enough to ensure the team reached the qualifying stages of the 2010-11 UEFA Champions League. Napoli’s former goalkeeper Matteo Gianello confessed to prosecutors that he attempted to fix the match in order to bet on a Sampdoria victory. He was accused of trying to involve current Napoli captain Paolo Cannavaro and defender Gianluca Grava, both of whom refused any involvement. However, FIGC’s internal court on Thursday overturned the punishments relating to Napoli, along with six month bans handed to Cannavaro and Grava for failing to report the fix. This season’s Serie A table has been heavily affected by the scandal with Siena deducted six points, Atalanta two, and Sampdoria and Torino one each.

While Platini wouldn’t comment on his future plans and the widely-held belief he is Sepp Blatter’s heir apparent as FIFA president, he reiterated that he will fight for Qatar to stage the 2022 World Cup during the European winter. He added: “In 2010 in South Africa, the temperature was five degrees at 5pm. We have to play the World Cup at the best moment to stage the World Cup.”