New Delhi: In the wake of Europol's expose of large-scale match-fixing in the sport, senior law enforcement officials and football administrators from across the world are gathering in Kuala Lumpur to attend a seminar on 'Match fixing: The Ugly Side of the Beautiful Game'.
The seminar, to be held on February 20 and 21 in the Malaysian capital, is part of the Interpol international conference for representatives from Asian Football Confederation (AFC)'s Member Associations and law enforcement agencies.
Hundreds of soccer matches have been fixed in a global betting scam run from Singapore, police said on February 4, in a blow to the image of the world's most popular sport.
About 680 suspicious matches including qualifying games for the World Cup and European Championships, and the Champions League for top European club sides, have been identified in an inquiry by European police forces, the European anti-crime agency Europol, and national prosecutors.
Europol chief Rob Wainwright termed the expose "match-fixing on a scale we have not seen before".
"This is a sad day for European football. This is now an integrity issue for football. Those responsible for running the games should hear the warnings," Wainwright had said.
The world's most popular sport, football, is played on every continent. The World Cup and Europe's Champions League are beamed worldwide and generate billions of dollars for national associations, clubs and broadcasters.
The matches in question, some of which have already been subject to successful criminal prosecutions, were played between 2008 and 2011, the investigators said.
About 380 of the suspicious matches were played in Europe, and a further 300 were identified in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
In partnership with FIFA, AFC and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the upcoming event comes under the auspices of Interpol's Integrity in Sport unit, as part of the joint INTERPOL/FIFA Training, Education and Prevention Initiative.