“This is a sad day for European football,” said Europol boss Rob Wainwright in a statement on Monday, adding that criminals were orchestrating corruption on a level that threatens “The very fabric of the game.”
A Singapore-based crime ring is closely involved in the incidents which date back to 2008 the report said.
In total, the probe uncovered a total of 680 ‘suspicious’ games with 380 of them in Europe and 300 games globally, which generated $10.9-million (U.S. currency) in betting profits and saw nearly $2.2-million in bribes according to the report.
The agency has declined to name suspects teams or games but says that 425 match officials as well as club officials, players and criminals from around the world were involved in the scheme.
“This is the first time we have established substantial evidence that organized crime is now operating in the world of football,” Wainwright added. “It highlights a big problem for the integrity of football in Europe.”
Europol is pushing for a concerted effort to tackle match fixing and will be alerting UEFA boss Michel Platini to the report, which is asking for more information from Europol.
“Once the details of these investigations are in UEFA’s hands, then they will be reviewed by the appropriate disciplinary bodies in order that the necessary measures are taken,” UEFA said in a statement.
UEFA, which oversees European soccer and organizes the Champions League, seemed surprised by the breadth of Europol’s accusations. It said it expected more information on the Europol investigation shortly.
“Once the details of these investigations are in UEFA’s hands, then they will be reviewed by the appropriate disciplinary bodies in order that the necessary measures are taken,” a UEFA official said.