The Portuguese player union has introduced an app for footballers to report match-fixing and wants authorities to address the root of the problem.
Players who’ve witnessed attempts to match-fixing can use the app to report anonymously, but they can also leave their personal details. Reports are send directly to the police.
The app is part of a joint campaign, which SJPF and the Portuguese football association FPF started in October 2016 with former national team player Pedro Pauleta as its ambassador. It includes visits to dressing rooms by union and FA representatives to educate players about the risks of match-fixing and how to act when confronted with the issue.
“It is of paramount importance that the union is involved in this campaign," SJPF President Joaquim Evangelista told FIFPro. “Players will only report if they trust you, and our mutual relationship is built upon trust.”
Last week, Portuguese police arrested six people, including 5 second division players, for their alleged involvement in match-fixing.
“Despite this news, people don’t realize the dangers of match-fixing. They don’t take any action to tackle the causes that are threatening the integrity of our game,” Evangelista said. “Yet, there are obvious signs that cannot be ignored.”
Evangelista referred to the following problems:
- Unpaid wages, which makes players vulnerable to approaches by match-fixers;
- Financial problems of clubs, which make them susceptible to approaches from dubious investors;
- No serious scrutiny of foreign investors;
- An ineffective club licensing system;
- A lack of good governance at many clubs.
“If you solve these issues, then you have a chance to eradicate match-fixing,” Evangelista added.
Regarding the case of the five arrested players, Evangelista called for a thorough and swift investigation. “We have a zero tolerance policy towards match-fixing, however each player’s case must be handled individually. In many cases match-fixing does not begin with the player.”
Even if a player is found guilty, he can count on the help of the SJPF, Evangelista explained. “It is the responsibility of the union to support the players, even if they make mistakes.”
FPF President Fernando Gomes, Pedro Pauleta and SJPF President Joaquim Evangelista
- Published: 07 April 2017