FIFA has enhanced its global football safeguarding policy via the launch of the Global Integrity Programme, in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The programme places a strong emphasis on education, aiming to enhance integrity within all 211 member organisations via resource and knowledge sharing among various Integrity Officers, with the aim of preventing match manipulation.
FIFA had earlier signed a memorandum of understanding with the UNODC in September 2020, which saw the two organisations agree to enhance their joint cooperation to prevent infiltration of sports by organised criminal groups.
Earlier this year, the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) revealed that there had been a 48% increase in suspicious betting activity between from 2019 to 2020, with football recording a 25% rise in illicit betting alone.
“Match-fixing is an issue that is very real and threatens the integrity and credibility of football in many countries around the world,” remarked Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA.
Organised on a regional basis, the programme will feature a series of three-module workshops, which will be provided to each individual football confederation. The first education will be delivered to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on 4 March, with the second module following on 16 March.
As part of its partnership with UNODC, the programme also reflects the United Nations’ objective of supporting governments and sports organisations in their fight against corruption and organised crime.
Infantio added: “Working in close collaboration with experts at the UNODC and alongside other ongoing efforts that FIFA is taking, the FIFA Global Integrity Programme is another important step by FIFA to protect the integrity of football and will play an important role in educating and building capacity within member associations to help fight match-fixing at a local level.”
Additionally, FIFA also announced the launch of the FIFA Integrity Officers Community Platform, a community-driven online initiative, with the aim of assigning dedicated integrity officers to international member associations and confederations.
The global governing body intends to utilise the confidential platform to develop a multinational network of integrity officers, who will be able to share information, experience and best practices to make the organisation’s overall campaign against match manipulation and more efficient, and better safeguard the integrity of football.
Both the Global Integrity Programme and Community Platform represent a continuation of FIFA’s ‘The Vision 2020-23: Making Football Truly Global,’ a commitment to combating match fixing and betting corruption via integrity initiatives, reporting mechanisms and educational programmes.