Europeans to ban clubs for match fixing
Europeans to ban clubs for match fixing

The European Club Association has agreed to expel members who have fixed soccer matches, just days after European police agency Europol issued a report showing the problem is widespread.

The 200-member ECA, meeting in Qatar, approved on Wednesday the measure that also allows it to kick clubs out for doping or racism. In the past, it only warned clubs for such behaviour.

The clubs felt it was "their duty" to act, ECA general secretary Michele Centenaro said, and he did not say whether the move was in response to a report from Europol on Monday that said more than 380 matches were suspicious, including Word Cup and European Championship qualifiers and two Champions League games.

"Before, it was sort of a warning, and now it is a duty and commitment we ask of our clubs," Centenaro told The Associated Press. "We are a responsible organisation and we feel our members are committed to certain values and ... we defend those values. We felt it was our duty to do this as an association."

But the Turkish club Fenerbache, an ECA member, illustrates the limits of such actions.

Centenaro said the new regulation would not apply to Fenerbahce, which was embroiled in a match-fixing scandal.

Fenerbahce president Aziz Yildirim was convicted and sentenced to six years and three months in prison on match-fixing charges. But the Turkish Football Federation cleared all 16 Turkish teams of involvement in the alleged match-fixing scandal on grounds that there was no evidence that alleged attempts to fix games altered the course of 22 matches tainted by the allegations.

Meanwhile, the Asian Football Confederation reaffirmed its commitment on Wednesday to fight match fixing following allegations that a Singapore-based crime syndicate has been involved in fixing matches around the world.

"We are closely following the news reports which have suggested that Asia is one of the continents where the suspicious matches took place," AFC general secretary Alex Soosay said in a statement.

"AFC has a zero-tolerance policy toward unethical practices in football and we are determined to fight against any kind of irregularities that include and are not limited to match fixing, corruption and illegal betting in the game."

The West Australian

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