Bulgaria hosts FIFPRO and Europol as part of IntegriSport 3.0 project against match-fixing

Bulgaria’s capital Sofia became the host of an important international panel on match-fixing prevention and sport integrity safeguarding, part of the IntegriSport 3.0 project. 

The Bulgarian Ministry of Youth and Sports, in collaboration with the CSCF Foundation for Sport Integrity, welcomed representatives from the country’s government, law enforcement, as well as a number of sport federations and player unions to discuss how they can coordinate efficiently to keep sports safe. 

Invited sports bodies included the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU), the Bulgarian Tennis Federation, the Bulgarian Esports Federation, the Bulgarian Basketball Federation, the Association of Bulgarian Footballers (ABF), as well as the global football organisation FIFPRO. 

Law enforcement agencies were represented by Europol’s Financial Crime Unit, as well as officials from Bulgaria, Malta, and Austria. 

Loïc Alves, Senior Legal Counsel of FIFPRO, took the time to highlight the success of the Red Button App – developed specifically for professional footballers to report suspected cases of match-fixing. 

Alves said: “Football is one of the most-targeted sports by international organised crime, who will often exploit footballers who are in financial difficulties, such as those not regularly receiving their salary from clubs.

“Ultimately, footballers want a clean sport and the right to a safe workplace. The Red Button app empowers players to safely report match-fixing approaches to competent authorities. That is why a unified approach amongst stakeholders and the support of law enforcement and judiciaries is crucial when it comes to tackling this international issue.”

There was also praise given to the BFU for its continuous efforts and support in fighting corruption in sports, despite the union’s boss of 18 years BorislavBobby’ Mihaylov resigning unceremoniously at the end of last year. 

Mihaylov was previously investigated over alleged links to international crime syndicates affiliated with known match-fixing activity across global sports tournaments. SBC News was not able to find any final conclusions on the above. 

In order to be ousted officially, Mihaylov’s resignation letter must be voted in by the majority of Bulgarian football clubs during their next congress meeting, which will take place this Friday, 15 March. 

That day will also see Bulgaria choosing its next football president, with bookies placing Manchester United legend Dimitar Berbatov as the most likely choice out of the three leading contenders.

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