Istanbul: The scourge of match-fixing is undermining soccer and the problem is getting worse, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said on Thursday. (Agencies)
Blatter, addressing the UEFA Congress in Istanbul, said FIFA's decision to use an 'early warning system' which monitors suspicious betting patterns and alerts the international police force Interpol was paying off but that the problem was growing.
He also alluded to Turkey being affected by match-rigging - Fenerbahce were banned from the Champions League this season due to match-fixing.
"Are we responsible for all the evils in our world? No. But we must see to it that we stay alert," said Blatter. "There is something that is new and concerns the region where we are and that is illegal betting and this leads to match rigging."
Blatter was pleased that FIFA, UEFA and the other confederations were working closely with Interpol.
"We are working together against the scourge of match-rigging, which is undermining our sport. This makes our sport a matter of chance when matches are being rigged."
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan also spoke of match-fixing in his address to the Congress but said individuals and not clubs should be punished.
"We must punish the individuals involved, the criminals, and not perhaps entire clubs or communities," he said.
Early newspapers carried an open letter to UEFA President Michel Platini and UEFA officials which began: "Turkish Football Is Corrupted" and called on UEFA to take action against the Turkish FA which, they claimed, "has blocked the applications of disciplinary actions against match-fixing for eight months."
The letter was signed by the Turkish Fair Play Platform. Blatter also announced that UEFA's new insurance cover for European-based players on international duty would be extended worldwide and that FIFA would insure all players involved in international matches on official dates from the start of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign in September.
"You have to have the best interests of the players and we will have the pleasure of announcing at the next executive committee that from this year we will have total insurance coverage for all matches on the international match calendar," he said.
"This is an insurance coverage for the players, for the clubs and for the associations."
Blatter alos said the governing body will insure players on international duty in a move expected to satisfy Europe's top clubs.
Blatter tells UEFA's annual congress that the insurance policy will begin this year, after FIFA's national members approve it in May.
Blatter said FIFA will offer "total insurance coverage for the players, for the clubs and the (national) associations" for all international calendar matches.
Istanbul: The scourge of match-fixing is undermining soccer and the problem is getting worse, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said on Thursday.