MINSTER OF STATE for Sport, Michael Ring says Irish football fans can’t assume that match-fixing isn’t a problem in this country.
Europol this week revealed they investigating 380 suspicious matches in 15 countries including World Cup qualifiers and Champions League games.
“We cannot simply assume that the sort of activity highlighted by Europol this week is a problem that will not affect Ireland,” said the minister. “We need to play our part internationally and cooperate with the relevant authorities to ensure that this problem does not impact sport in Ireland.”
The Mayo TD also indicated that he will concentrate his efforts on fighting problems like doping in sport while Chair of the EU Council of Sports Ministers during the Irish Presidency of the EU.
“A major challenge currently facing sport is the threat to its integrity caused by dishonesty, and which goes completely against the principles of sport. Recent developments have yet again highlighted the corruption that can exist in some areas of sport, from athletes trying gain an advantage from taking banned substances, to criminal syndicates attempting to pervert fair competition for financial gain.
“While recognising that sport policy remains a matter for Member States, the new EU competence for sport allows the EU and Member States the opportunity to work more closely together to address issues of common interest and share best practice.
“It also gives us the opportunity to speak with one voice at international level, particularly in areas such as the fight against doping, which is a particular concern of mine and the fight against corruption in sport. Working together we can strive to better protect the integrity of sport through targeting cheating at all levels and promote healthy, fair and enjoyable sport,” he added.