January 23rd, 2013

“Match fixing is a disease” FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke tells CNN World Sport

On Wednesday CNN International’s World Sport interviewed FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke. Speaking from FIFA HQ in Zurich, Switzerland Valcke talked to CNN sports correspondent Pedro Pinto discussing the controversial topic of match fixing and corruption in football.

Transcript highlights:

Pedro Pinto: Is Africa one of the areas of the world that is more vulnerable to match fixing?

Jerome Valcke: I really think that it’s a, if I may say, a disease and a threat which is on a worldwide basis, it’s not just about Africa. It is in Asia, it is in Europe, it is in North America, it is in Canada, it is in South America. It’s all around the world that this match-fixing, or match manipulation is active.

Pedro Pinto: You heard what UEFA President Michel Platini had to say in an interview with a French radio station, in which he said about match-fixing: ‘if tomorrow we go watch a game and already knowing the outcome, football is dead.’ When you heard him say that, what were you thinking and what was your reaction?

Jerome Valcke: I would say that he is perfectly right. The beauty of football is a bit like theatre, where play in one place, you have a defined time, 90 minutes, you know exactly what will happen apart from the outcome. So if you know what’s the end of the party, of the game, then definitely football is dead. That’s the beauty of the game, you never know who will be the winner. It can be the team you think would win, but it can also be the other team, the opponent who can make it because it’s just played on one goal. So that’s why we have to protect football as much as we can.

Pedro Pinto: Is it a fight you can win considering how many of these dealings are underground?

Jerome Valcke: I’m not sure we will win it tomorrow morning. When I was in Rome where we had this meeting with Interpol and 50 of the 53 of the European associations, I heard that the business of match manipulation per year is around 100billion. I don’t know it is in Euros or US, but whatever, it is 100billion, it’s an amazing figure. So again, I think it will be a very, very long fight and it will be very difficult to win. And if we want to win, it is all together. Also I told some media in South Africa, if you are aware of anything you should tell us. We have to fight all. All the people who love football should be together towards match-fixing. But it will not be a fight of one day as we have other fights which have been there already. And match manipulation will be another fight that will be there for the next decade.

Pedro Pinto: Regarding the head of security, Ralf Mutschke, how much power does he have and how much support does he have at FIFA?

Jerome Valcke: So if your question is whether there is any limit to what FIFA would do against match-fixing – there is no limit. And that’s why I fully agree with Michel, there is no limit in what we have to do in order to make sure we can eradicate match-fixing one day in our game. Or at least to make sure that match-fixing is not a threat anymore to our game.