Fed up with corruption in football, the European Socialist Party in the European Parliament invited anti-match-fixing organisation Federbet to present the results of its 2015 report on Tuesday (2 June).
Federbet said it investigated when betting took place and they noticed "something that goes against mathematics" or suspicious financial flux. The information will be passed on to the police authorities of countries where match-fixing is suspected, Federbet Secretary General Francesco Baranca said.
About 50 games in the 2014-2015 season are suspected to have been rigged, European Parliament member Marc Tarabella, from the European Socialist Party, said. He said Italian, German, Belgian, Spanish, Greek, Portuguese, Croat, Latvian, Romanian, Slovenian and Ukrainian teams are concerned. Europa League preliminary games are under scrutiny, too.
Baranca said possible corruption spread from top league games to games in second and third division games, as well as friendlies.
"The numbers are getting bigger and bigger, so we have like Italy this year, where the phenomenon was coming back after some years of quiet, there is like a new explosion. We have Belgium, with two attempts of match-fixing in the last two rounds of the second division. We have Greece, Portugal, second division where everything is starting from a phantom match organised from some criminal organisation just to make money about this phantom match, a friendly phantom match. And we have the story of Sweden that is a country where the corruption is very low but in football the corruption is very high," Baranca said.
The roots of the problems are diverse, Baranca said. In Greece and Portugal, budget cuts and economic crisis have created a breeding ground for match-fixing, Federbet said. Players who don't get paid by their clubs may be inclined to fix matches, he added.
"The problem of football is that now the football players move very easily from one country to another country and they export this virus in a very fast way. And what is interesting, we don't have just the market, transfer market, because the football player is a good football player. We have also transfer market because the football player is a good cheater," he said.
The report is especially critical of Ukraine and Cyprus. In Ukraine, many teams were involved, from U19 and U12 all the way to the first division, the report said. In Cyprus, Federbet alleged, the embezzlement is such that only supporters in the stadium did not know the result of the game.
Federbet said it is behind the Dirty Soccer investigation into a mafia-linked match-fixing scandal in Italy that led to the arrest and incarceration of 19 people.