All India Football Federation soon to have anti-corruption unit

Though charges of match-fixing and corruption are unheard in Indian football till now, the AIFF doesn't want to take any chance.

Updated: January 15, 2014 21:40 IST
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New Delhi: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) will have an Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) to make sure the revamped national I-League and the proposed Indian Super League (ISL) are free of any malpractices.

AIFF vice-president Subrata Dutta told IANS on Wednesday that the executive committee at its next meeting is expected to approve the formation of the ACSU.

"FIFA has been pushing for an anti-corruption unit for quite some time as it is convinced that prevention is better than cure. The AIFF executive will resolve to appoint an anti-corruption officer and also the framework in which the ACSU unit will work," Dutta told IANS on the sidelines of the first day of the two-day seminar of FIFA and Interpol to tackle match fixing and corruption in in the sport.

At its Mauritius congress in June, the FIFA had expressed its fears of corruption to the AIFF.

Though charges of match-fixing and corruption are unheard in Indian football till now, the AIFF doesn't want to take any chance. The fears surfaced following the suspension of two Lebanese match officials by the Asian Football Confederations (AFC) after they were arrested in Singapore ahead of East Bengal's AFC Cup match against Tampines Rovers in April.

FIFA-recognised referee Ali Sabbagh and assistant referees Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb were arrested hours before the match on charges of accepting sexual favours in return for fixing the match.

"We don't want to take any chances. Prevention is always better than cure. The I-League is getting better and bigger with each passing year and with the inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) coming up this year, we want to have a system in place that could check corruption," said Dutta adding that the ACSU officer should be from one of India's top investigating agencies.

On the first day of seminar, India's premier investigating agency Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) also gave a detailed presentation on how to tackle corruption in football.

On the second day the AIFF will sit down with CBI and officials from Mumbai police and Delhi Police, who last year unearthed the match-fixing and betting scandal in the Indian Premier League (IPL) to see how best the police could help the football authorities in checking the menace.

FIFA's security manager Nicholas Rodensky and officials from FIFA's Early Warning System are also taking part in the seminar. The two bodies will also help the AIFF to have a foolproof system to combat corruption in Indian football.

FIFA had set-up its Early Warning System in 2007 to monitor sports betting trends in all its tournaments and competitions. The body tries to check the impact of betting on the matches.

Apart from the FIFA tournaments, Early Warning System also monitors competitions of the Japan Football Association and will also share the experience with the AIFF.

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