UEFA Calls for Clean BetsPublished December 14, 2008 by OCR Editor
UEFA boss endorses 'honest betting' in highly-regulated Europe and warns about illegal betting in Asia.
UEFA president Michel Platini told a conference of European lawmakers Friday that they must work with governments to ensure football betting remains clean.
Speaking at a press conference following a Council of Europe-organized conference in Athens, the head of Europe's football bodies said there is an "incredible opportunity" in the next few months to use the liberalization of betting in Europe to protect the game from illegal Asian betting syndicates.
"Before, betting was state-run, now anybody can organize bets," Platini said. "Today, most illegal forms of betting come from Asia or China."
"The very honest betting in Europe in tax havens is one issue, but betting in Asia is more border-line."
Platini said he told the legislators that because UEFA itself has no jurisdiction over such issues, they have to help the sporting body by providing the legal framework to stamp out illegal betting.
He also said UEFA will soon propose that its warning system against illegal betting - already used in continent-wide UEFA competition - be extended to domestic competitions as well, with the body to offer funding to national associations.
Platini spoke about a variety of other issues in his speech, including the fight against doping and the need to combat violence and racism, but stressed his first duty was to ensure UEFA competitions run smoothly, saying "if games are decided in advance, it will quietly kill off sport."
This move follows a series of UEFA attempts to stamp out fraudulent sports betting, the most recent of which being the establishment of a special unit to investigate irregular betting patterns.