According to the report, 680 "suspicious matches" were played from 2008 to 2011. (Bloomberg/Getty Images)
The New York Times published part one of a two-part series on Saturday that looked at incidents of match-fixing in the months leading up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and FIFA officials quoted in the report admit the soccer tournament in Brazil this year is also subject to a "certain risk."
The report begins with details of a Singapore-based company scheming to fix friendlies in South Africa before the country hosting the World Cup. It goes on to explain that soccer is the sport most looked-at by fixers because of the "action it generates on the vast and largely unregulated Asian betting markets."
More from the Times:
"Fixers are attracted to soccer because of the action it generates on the vast and largely unregulated Asian betting markets. And if executed well, a fixed soccer match can be hard to detect. Players can deliberately miss shots; referees can eject players or award penalty kicks; team officials can outright tell players to lose a match."
Ralph Mutschke, FIFA's head of security, admitted as much, saying in the Times report that the tournament set to kick off in Brazil in June is coveted by match-fixers because of the huge betting volume it generates:
“The fixers are trying to look for football matches which are generating a huge betting volume, and obviously, international football tournaments such as the World Cup are generating these kinds of huge volumes. Therefore, the World Cup in general has a certain risk.”
The European Union's police intelligence agency, Europol, said in the report that there were 680 "suspicious matches" held throughout the world from 2008-2011. Among those that were deemed to be perhaps corrupted by match-fixing include World Cup qualifying matches and those played in "Europe’s most prestigious leagues and tournaments."
The second part of the Times investigation will be published on Sunday.
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